Clinton needed a late game rally to take care of a scrappy Midway squad on Friday night. Playing in front of a capacity crowd in the Faison Gymnasium, the Lady Raiders gave the Lady Dark Horses all they wanted, holding a lead late in the fourth quarter before succumbing to the Clinton press and dropping a 70-62 decision.
Clinton opened up the early lead, running out to a 19-12 advantage by the end of the first quarter. Just as it looked like the Lady Dark Horses were set to run away with the game, the Lady Raiders mounted a furious second quarter rally. By halftime the Lady Raiders had overtaken the Lady Horses and carried a one point lead into the locker room at 33-32.
Midway continued to build their lead early in the third quarter and held a 45-42 lead after three quarters. Clinton, plagued by foul trouble early in the game, went back to their pressing defense in the fourth quarter, but Midway seemed unfazed as they built their lead to as much as six points early in the fourth quarter. At about the halfway point of the final frame, Clinton’s relentless pressure defense seemed to take it’s toll on the Lady Raiders. Brielle Mitchell converted a three point play to tie the game at 56-56 with 3:20 remaining. Midway answered quickly, scoring two unanswered baskets to regain a four point advantage at 60-56.
Clinton then went on an 8-2 run to retake the lead at 64-60 and send the Lady Raiders reeling. After cutting the lead to 2 points at 64-62, the Lady Raiders got the ball back with a chance to tie the score. After a timeout Midway got a great shot on a designed play but failed to convert from close range. This play seemed to knock the wind out of the Lady Raiders sails as Clinton reeled off six straight to end the game, sealing the 70-62 win.
Clinton was led by Brielle Mitchell with 21 points, nine coming in the fourth quarter. Alex Canady pumped in 20 and Zoey Harris added 8 points for the Lady Dark Horses. Leah Williams and J J Sankey paced the Lady Raiders with 14 points each and Alyssa Wrench added 13.
Clinton head coach Chris Owens commented on his team’s play after the game saying, “Midway came with a good game plan, they gave us all we wanted. I thought our legs were a little weak tonight after three games this week. We got into foul trouble early and couldn’t press like we wanted to. When we went back to the press in the fourth quarter, we got things going. This is a big win for us, we need to keep building on the momentum going into the post season. The girls stayed focused tonight and kept playing hard and good things happened.”
Midway head coach, Brian Wallum was pleased with his team’s play but disappointed with the loss, “We are working hard to compete with Clinton and East Bladen and tonight is the best we have played against them in the past two years. With 2:30 left were were up four and feeling pretty good, then we turn it over a couple of times and they are right back in it. We missed a couple of shots close in that could have made a difference. I am really proud of the way we played tonight, our freshmen, J J Sankey and Alyssa Wrench really had nice games, Taylor Faircloth, our leading scorer, had an off night shooting but she stayed with it and made some big shots in the second half. All of the girls played really well and we can build off this game.”
The win moves Clinton to 16-4 overall and 8-2 in Four County Conference play. Midway falls to 10-9 overall and 5-5 in conference play. Clinton will host Union on Tuesday night and Midway will return to action on Monday when they host Wallace-Rose Hill.
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