NEWARK, N.J. - It was a successful year for all intent and purpose for the Madison boys' basketball team. Despite being losing to Newark Tech, 94-45, in the first round of the state tournament, the mere fact that the Dodgers made the tournament is a blessing.

A year after losing key components to graduation, Madison wasn't supposed to compete for a trip to the tournament. However, after finishing the year with an 8-16 record, the inexperienced Madison squad gained valuable exposure, even with a blowout loss.

"We didn't even expect to be here," Madison head coach Mike Radzieski said. "We're not down about it. We just came out and played. It was a good experience."

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Its year one of Radzieski's plan for Madison basketball's future. Having several underclassmen, including freshman Tim Azzolini, see significant minutes, the Dodger's boys varsity team will look back at this year 8-17 finish as a learning tool and the start of something great.

"The majority of our team didn't have any experience last year," Radzieski said. "I just told them right now about the offseason, and how important thats going to be for us to be a better team next year."

Radzieski will use the offseason as another building block, because you can only go up from a 49-point loss. Though the film from Monday's game against Newark Tech doesn't matter much at this point for the Dodgers, it is surely a sign of good things to come.

Senior Sean Haughey led all Madison scorers with 16 points, nine of which came in the fourth quarter. He along with Devin Koep are the only starters the Dodgers will lose to graduation at the end of the school year.

With the youth that will be returning next year to Madison High School's main gym, the Dodgers are on their way to being a force in Morris County in the next few years to come.

"Its year one under our belt," Radzieski said. "Year one."