Midway split non-conference varsity basketball contests with Neuse Charter Wednesday, winning the girls game, but losing the boys game. The games were played at Campbell University’s Gore Arena.
After a close first quarter, Midway dominated the remaining three quarters to rout Neuse Charter 47-20 in the girls game.
“We were getting to where we were kind of content to not really push the ball like I want to and not move the ball,” said Midway coach Allen McLamb. “We would just hold the ball and be doing too much one-on-one. So, we tried to work on that tonight. It probably created a little bit lower scoring. And honestly, I’m probably going into this conference against the teams we’re going to have to play, we’re going to have to slow the ball down. I think against East Duplin, Goldsboro and probably Clinton, I’m going to have to slow the ball down if we want to beat them. So, we’re working on running the plays all the way through and everybody getting on the same page.
“Everybody got some playing time and on defense we only gave up 20. Everybody plays and we only give up 20, that’s not a bad game. We did a lot of little things coming into a new environment. I thought our shooting wasn’t that bad to be in an entirely different environment. And a home game at Campbell, that was pretty neat. It actually worked out better for us than I thought it might. Overall, I’m satisfied. We did a lot of little things that we needed to work on.”
Senior Alyssa Wrench had 15 points, seven rebounds and four steals and freshman Kris McKoy had 10 points and three assists to lead the Raiders (15-2).
“Alyssa was the leading scorer and leading rebounder and had one block and four steals,” McLamb said. “She had a really good, complete game.”
J.J. Sankey had six points and three steals. Allison Belflowers had six points. Alexis Jackson had four points. Sydney Williams, Kaylah Jackson and Erin Barefoot had two points apiece.
The Cougars (6-6) were led by sophomore Daja Staten, with five points, and senior Kayla Ham, with four points.
Midway took an early 11-4 lead in the first quarter before Neuse rallied with a 6-2 run to cut it to 13-10 at the end of the quarter.
The Raiders stepped up defensively the rest of the way, holding the Cougars to just a combined 10 points in the remaining quarters, outscoring them 11-2 in the second, 6-3 in the third and 17-5 in the fourth.
Late missed opportunities were costly for Midway as Neuse Charter took a 57-53 boys win.
“I want to thank Mike Collins and Campbell University for allowing us the opportunity to play in Gore Arena,” said Raiders boys coach Joe Easley. “It is an experience that both teams will never forget. I also want to congratulate Neuse Charter on the win. They played team basketball and competed from the very beginning of the game.
“Our first defensive possession indicated to me that we were not quite ready to play basketball when our defenders did not switch on a screen resulting in a wide open lay up.
“We allowed ourselves to get down early by not playing with great defensive energy. We were also shooting poorly on the offensive end. When I noticed that our energy was low in transition from offense to defense, I went to my bench to see if they could provide a spark. I put five new players in the game and they competed, but we were still down at the half due to our slow start.
“I thought our guys did well to begin the third quarter, but as the half progressed, our lack of defensive effort at times and inability to make shots were the main reasons for losing the game.”
Junior Jamar Autry had 16 points and senior Carsse Lucas had 12 points to lead the Raiders (5-12).
Zack Fann, Dalton Cannady and Jaden Covington had six points apiece, Bryson Core had four points and Brandon Cousar had three points.
Senior Jackson Hester had 24 points, senior Josh Marshall had 11 points and junior Jamir Ledbetter had 10 points to pace the Cougars (4-10).
Midway struggled through the first half, but Neuse was unable to take advantage and pull away, leading 27-21 at halftime.
Back-to-back scores from Lucas started Midway on a 12-1 run to open the third quarter and take a 33-28 lead. But Neuse fought back with a 12-4 run to end the third with a 40-37 lead.
The game was tied 51-51 with just over one minute remaining when Jacob Denton hit a three-pointer to give the Cougars the lead.
“I wanted to admit that I made the wrong call out of a timeout to run a 1-3-1 defense and they got a wide open 3-pointer in the corner,” Easley said. “I was trying to decide between the 1-3-1 and a man-to-man defense.
I made the wrong decision and it cost us 3 points late in the game. I wish I would have made the decision to play man-to-man.”
After Lucas scored to cut the lead to one, Hester was fouled while shooting a three, but made just one of the ensuing free throws. But Midway missed a shot on the other end and Marshall sank a pair of free throws on the ensuing possession to put the game out of reach.
Midway returns to East Central 2-A Conference play Friday at Goldsboro.