2022 Turkey Shootout Preview


Former Cub basketball player, Jackson Falconberry, challenges for the tip at last year’s Turkey Shootout

Mitchell Adams, Staff Reporter

It is Thanksgiving time once again. The turkeys are thawing, the pumpkin pie is baking, and for sports enthusiasts, the Turkey Shootout is back for another installment. Madison and Southwestern basketball teams are all set to square off, with school bragging rights for the next year on the line. Madison will host the event, and for the first time since 2018, the public will be able to attend Turkey Shootout at MCHS. With all the excitement and anticipation surrounding the event, the Madisonian spoke with all the varsity coaches to get an idea of what to expect and get their take on the storylines leading up to the Turkey Shootout.

The Madison girls’ basketball team has had a strong start to its 2022 season. Madison has a strong roster of experienced veterans and new players who can deliver results on the court.

“At the risk of sounding cliche, they all are [key players],” Head Coach Adam Dennis told the Madisonian, “This group feeds off of each other. Our energy as a group is vital to our success.” The team has certainly found success to start the season. They will head into Turkey Shootout having won four straight games against Lawrenceburg, Switzerland County, South Dearborn, and most recently, a 44-point win over Salem. 

One of the major storylines for the team coming into the year is their new head coach Adam Dennis. Before stepping into the head coach position, Dennis served two years as an assistant coach for the team and spent six years as the head coach of Switzerland County’s Boys’ Varsity team. According to Dennis, the team is tough and can fight out of adversity. The Madison Lady Cubs will come into Turkey Shootout with past success. Southwestern has only bested the Lady Cubs once since 2008, which came in the form of a one-point loss in 2011.

Former Cub basketball player, Jackson Falconberry, challenges for the tip at last year’s Turkey Shootout

Despite these numbers, the Southwestern girls’ team cannot be counted out. They have a solid 2-2 start on the season and come off a win against South Dearborn. Southwestern has a good mix of veteran players and younger members on the roster. They are returning quite a few players from last year, which gives the team some developed chemistry.

Head Coach Brian Crank told the Madisonian, “[the] strengths to our team is that we have a lot of returning players from last year, we shoot free throws well, we work hard, and we are very unselfish.”

Crank believes that if the team can play fundamentally strong and work together, they can be victorious over the Cubs. With all the talent from their starters and the bench, the Lady Rebels are ready to take the fight to Madison in 2022.

The Madison boys will bring a young but ambitious team to Turkey Shootout this year. According to second-year head coach Adam Stotts, the team has plenty of energy and chemistry.

“This team likes each other, there are no guys that aren’t buying into what we are trying to do, and everyone seems to enjoy being around each other,” Stotts said.

Cam Cahall passes the ball as MCHS Lady Cub Assistant Coach Sonja Bowyer look on

This season will be a big test for the Cubs, as no seniors are on the 2022-23 roster. They are looking to grow their program and develop this young group as a contender in the coming years.

Coach Stotts told The Madisonian that to be successful, the team must build their identity and play hard.

“We will constantly try to outwork teams and play harder. If we can guard teams, we can be in any game.”

The big question for Madison is whether they worked hard enough in the preseason to make up for their youth. Their first game of the season will be against Southwestern, so Turkey Shootout will be the team’s chance to see what they have to work within 2022.

Similar to Madison, the Southwestern boys enter the season relatively young and inexperienced. The team graduated six seniors after the 2021-22 season, so many players will see some of their first varsity games on the court this year. Only two players, Senior Peyton Gwin and Junior Jamison Lewis saw varsity court time last season. While this would present a challenge for any team, third-year Varsity Head Coach Zac Nussbaum is optimistic about his team this season.

“…we have a lot of kids who had to take a back seat last year that has been working really hard to prove themselves,” Nussbaum told the Madisonian. “I am excited to see them get the opportunity to go out and show what they can do.” 

One advantage for a young Southwestern team is their school’s track record against the Cubs. Southwestern only lost to Madison once since 2017, but that loss came the last time these two faced off on Madison’s home turf. Southwestern will also not have a game before Turkey Shootout, so the eve of Thanksgiving will be the first time the team takes to the court in competition. Coach Nussbaum admitted there are a lot of question marks surrounding the team but believes the team has the toughness to make up for their size and inexperience.

The Varsity games are Wednesday, November 23rd. Tickets will cost $6 and are available at the door or online. Online ticket sales also include a 55-cent convenience fee, only cash will be accepted for at-the-door ticket sales, and Madison all-sports passes will be accepted, per a statement from the Madison Athletics Department. If you can’t attend in person, the game will be broadcast on 96.7 FM WORX, 95.3 FM WIKI, IHSAA TV, and the NFHS Network. The boys’ and girls’ games are expected to put on a great show. Come and see these student-athletes fight their hardest in this longtime rivalry matchup.