AUGUSTA — While preparing for it’s Class C South quarterfinal, the Madison boys’ basketball team repeated a mantra: Losing is not an option. When the Bulldogs went into halftime Monday with only a three-point lead against Boothbay, that point was reiterated.

By the middle of the third quarter, it was apparent that the Bulldogs wouldn’t lose.

“That’s what we kept saying before the game. Two years in a row (we lost) in the first round, (and) we talked about it,” junior guard Sean Whalen said. “Losing was not an option today. We want to move on.”

Whalen scored 14 of his game-high 16 points in the second half, leading No. 3 Madison to a 63-41 win over No. 6 Boothbay. Madison (16-3) will face No. 7 Waynflete (15-5) in the semifinals Thursday at the Augusta Civic Center.

Last year’s regional quarterfinal loss to Boothbay (12-8) was on Madison’s mind, as was a regular-season loss to the Seahawks.

“It was sweet to win this one. We split with Boothbay in the regular season. We split them last year, and we really wanted this one,” Whalen said. “This one, we came out with a lot more energy. Last one, we maybe came in without the right mind-set. We beat them the first time and looked over them (the second time), possibly.”

The Bulldogs scored the first seven points of the third quarter to push their lead to 35-25. After allowing 12 points to Kyle Ames in the first half, Evan Bess led a defensive effort that locked down the Boothbay sharpshooter in the second half, keeping him scoreless.

“We come out in the second half, and we executed our game plan a little better. Lucky for us, Ames went a little colder in the second half, because he’s a heck of a shooter, and that helped for sure,” Madison Coach Jason Furbush said.

Added Whalen: “Our game plan all week was to get back in transition because (Jacob Leonard) likes to leak tons and tons. We always had to make sure we got back on him. We face guarded Ames all game with Evan Bess, because he’s the best defender on our team, by far.”

In outscoring the Seahawks 35-16 in the second half, the Bulldogs dominated by penetrating the lane against Boothbay’s extended 2-3 zone. Possession after possession, the Bulldogs found good open shots or got to the line and converted their free throws.

“I thought definitely we had an advantage when it comes to (attacking), especially when they had to start extending (the zone). It really played into our hands,” Furbush said. “When they sit back in their 2-3 zone, they’re tough. When they had to extend it, I thought it created some matchup difficulties for them.”

Mitch Jarvais added 13 points and seven rebounds for Madison, while Nick Morales scored 12 points.

Leonard scored 10 points for the Seahawks.

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