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BRV's Madden playing for Uncle Scotty as Vikings head to Tipton

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One of the ribbons of a Blue River Valley girls basketball player worn by the Viking players in Monday’s Class A Sectional 56 championship game against Tri honoring BRV freshman player Ally Madden’s uncle, Scott Madden, who died unexpectedly the day before.
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Blue River Valley freshman center Ally Madden hugs her dad Josh Madden after the Vikings won the girls basketball championship of Class A Sectional 56 Monday night at Randolph Southern High School. Ally’s uncle, Scott Madden, died unexpectedly the day before the sectional finale.

By JEREMY HINES - For The Courier-Times

LYNN — When the final buzzer sounded Monday night in the Class A Randolph Southern girls basketball sectional, Ally Madden couldn’t contain her emotions any longer.

Madden started crying. The Viking freshman was overcome with emotions and up until the final horn sounded, she had not let them out.

Madden wasn’t crying just tears of joy because her team just won the sectional. She was crying because the day before the sectional final her uncle, 1994 New Castle graduate Scott Madden, died unexpectedly. Ally and Scott were very close. His death shook the young Viking.

“Scott was loving and caring,” Ally said. “He was always there cracking jokes. Whenever I was around Uncle Scott, I just felt safe and comfortable. As soon as that buzzer sounded all the emotions I was having just came pouring in. I was blubbering like a baby, but everyone was just so supportive.”

There was some question whether Ally would even play in the sectional final.

“Coach and I talked before everyone else got to the game,” Ally said. “I got there early, and he asked if I wanted to play. Without a doubt I wanted to play, no matter what. Basketball was my way out. It is what keeps me sane.”

Madden continued.

“Once my dad (Josh Madden) told me that Uncle Scott died, I was just angry at the whole world. I just wanted to throw something and to scream. All I wanted to do was just cry with my dad. But when I got to the game, I realized I wanted to play and play as hard as I could and just release all of that emotion.”

Madden’s Viking teammates were not about to let her feel all alone in her time of need. Junior Joslynn Witham took strips of cloth and made ribbons out of them with Scott’s name on it. Each member of the Viking team wore those strips of cloth on their shoes during the game as a sign of support for Ally.

“That made me feel so loved,” Ally said. “It made me want to cry to see the whole team wearing those ribbons. I don’t know what I would have done if it wasn’t for my teammates.

Madden remarked about her emotions before the title game.

“Before the game, I was really anxious and nervous. I wanted to win for Uncle Scotty and my nerves were so high I thought I was going to throw up. But when all the girls prayed together, I knew that God and Uncle Scotty were watching over me.”

Coming into the season, Madden was worried if she could fit in with the team. Blue River has six seniors on the roster, and as a freshman, she was just hoping the team would accept her. Now she feels like the girls are part of her family.

Madden is one of the area’s top freshmen players. She averages nearly a double-double with 11.7 points and 9.5 rebounds per game.

“Ally is an outstanding young lady,” Blue River coach Terry Bales said. “She is really upbeat and positive. She is a free spirit and always happy. She likes everyone on the team and they all like her. She has the personality that people just really enjoy being around her. She is kind-hearted and will do anything for anyone.”

But in the sectional final, it was Ally that needed a little encouragement.

“In the middle of the game, I messed up and did something I shouldn’t have,” Ally said. “I don’t remember exactly what it was. But Lindsey Williams (senior) came up to me, looked me dead in the eye and pointed to my shoe and said that I’m playing for him (Scott). That got me focused.”

This week Ally is preparing for the Class A regional and also for saying her last goodbyes to her uncle. In addition, on Tuesday evening her great grandfather passed away.

“This is going to be rough,” Ally said. “On the basketball court I just get to go out there and be me. I will do what I need to for the team. When I’m off the court, I’m like a teddy bear. With the loss of my uncle and great grandpa, people are making sure I’m OK. I’m picking and choosing moments when I can let go and when I need to hold it in.”

One thing is for certain, she has a group of teammates that will be with her every step of the way.