Midway split nonconference varsity basketball contests with visiting Princeton on Wednesday night, winning the girls game but falling in the boys contest.
Midway finished strong to take a 53-33 win over Princeton in the girls game and remain unbeaten.
“This is two games in a row that we haven’t come out as strong as I wanted to in the first quarter,” said Midway girls coach Allen McLamb. “I saw that this team was a little faster than what we’ve been playing, so we talked a little bit about what we wanted to do and changed some things at halftime and got a little bit faster team in and that kind of helped. Being able to do that is a blessing, because you can go a little bit deeper and throw some different things at them. We’ve got a lot of young kids. Four seniors, but we’re still young and they’re working. I’m starting a freshman guard (Kris McKoy) and she’s learning. We’re a work in progress, but we’re 4-0 and we’re happy.”
Senior Alyssa Wrench had a double-double, with 15 points, 11 rebounds and five steals, senior J.J. Sankey had 14 points and seven steals and freshman Kris McKoy had 11 points to lead the Raiders (4-0).
Kayla Jackson had six points. Alexis Jackson had three points and five rebounds. Allison Belflowers and Rylie Williams had two points apiece.
“As long as we can keep people scoring and they’ll keep playing defense, we’re fine,” McLamb said. “When we play good defense and we’re running the floor, we’re a good team. We’ve got to commit to doing that.”
Sophomore LeOnna Nelson had 11 points and sophomore Meredith Wooten and senior Takiria Cummings had eight points apiece to lead the Bulldogs (1-2).
With a combined 44 fouls called in the contest, the free throw line was a major factor. Midway shot 19-for-27 (70.4 percent) at the line, while Princeton shot just 9-for-29 (31 percent).
“I challenged them that we were going to attack the rim, get to the foul line and make our buckets,” McLamb said. “And they did it. This is two nights in a row (Midway shot 22-for-32, or 69 percent, in a 67-36 win against Lakewood Tuesday).”
Midway held a 29-25 lead late in the third quarter when a pair of Wrench free throws started a 14-3 run to end the quarter. The Raiders held a double-digit lead the rest of the way.
Princeton got off to a hot start and led the entire way as Midway’s boys fell 95-70.
Midway boys coach Joseph Easley said the Raiders struggled against Princeton’s press defense.
“Their pressure in the backcourt bothered us,” Easley said. “Their 2-2-1 three-quarter court press. Our press O wasn’t effective. South Johnston, Hobbton and Lakewood didn’t press us, so this is the first game where we’ve seen that pressure in the backcourt and it got to us. So, we’re going to work on trying to fix our press offense and be ready for them the next time.”
Senior Bryson Core had 25 points, junior Jamar Autry had 21 points and senior Hykeem Raines had 10 points to lead the Raiders (2-2).
Carsse Lucas had five points. Tony Pena and Luke Strickland had three points apiece. Zack Fann had one point.
The Bulldogs (3-0) were led by Sophomore Jaheim Taylor, with 32 points, sophomore Tyrese Joyner, with 23 points, and senior Zach Garris, with 10 points.
Easley noted that Midway performed well rebounding, but was unable to capitalize on second chances.
“We missed a lot of wide-open layups tonight off our offensive rebounds,” Easley said. “But I thought our guys attacked the glass and I thought they were getting after it. But we missed a lot of free throws, we missed a lot of layups and we turned the ball over in the backcourt.”
Princeton opened the game with an 11-0 run and went on to outscore Midway 25-13 in the first quarter, 24-15 in the second and 27-18 in the third.
Midway fought back in the fourth, outscoring Princeton 24-19, but was unable to overcome the large deficit.
“We didn’t completely go away in the second half,” Easley said. “We’ve got to continue to try to learn to play harder. We’ve got to coach these guys to just continue to try to raise the level of intensity and continue to get better every day. I’m glad that we didn’t completely shut down and we’re going to look to try to build from this.”
Midway is at Lakewood on Friday before meeting the Bulldogs again at Princeton on Tuesday.