Two of the state's top small-school teams battled Wednesday at the Lebanon/BSN Sports Thanksgiving Tournament and it was more than worth the price of admission.
Madison's Terrance Glover hit two free throws in the closing seconds and teammate Deontay Starnes blocked a shot to preserve a 44-42 victory over Nashville.
Madison (3-0), ranked ninth in the preseason Class 1A state poll, advanced to Saturday's championship game by winning its pool. It was the first loss for Nashville (2-1), which was tied for first in the 2A state preseason rankings.
Madison will face College Prep from St. Louis in the championship game at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.
"We've got some new faces in the program and I told the kids this game was all about respect," Madison coach Jaime Cotto said. "There were a lot of coaches in there tonight watching and I think they really wanted to see what Madison was about and what Nashville was about."
Nashville led by as many as 10 points in the third quarter, but Madison's quickness and pressing defense began taking its toll. So did the Hornets' 7-for-18 performance at the free-throw line.
Madison guard Damon "Rocky" Warren dished off to Glover on the Trojans' final possession, with Glover being fouled as he drove to the rim after a pump fake.
Glover hit both free throws with 5.9 seconds remaining. Earlier, Warren hit a crucial 3-pointer with Madison trailing by one at the time.
Nashville sophomore Royce Newman led all scorers with 16 points and Dylan Mueller had seven.
Glover led Madison with 12 points while Warren had 10, Tyvon Powers had nine and Starnes had eight.
Down by five heading into the fourth quarter, Cotto went with a quicker lineup featuring four guards and Starnes. The strategy paid off with Nashville turnovers and reversed momentum after the Hornets had controlled play much of the night.
"That's what really changed the game," Cotto said. "They really had us down and the momentum was all toward Nashville's side. We started pressing them and they turned it over a couple times, then it switched back to us."
Hazelwood Central 70, Belleville West 40
West (1-1) trailed by 11 at halftime and never recovered in a semifinal loss to Hazelwood Central at the Vianney Invitational.
Jalen Foster led West with seven points while Demarco Buchanan had 17 for Hazelwood.
Okawville 55, New Athens 42
At the Okawville Post-Thanksgiving Tournament, freshman Noah Frederking scored 21 points to lead the host Rockets to a victory over New Athens. Tyler Meyer had 14 points for New Athens and Nick Ozier finished with 11.