The Midway Raiders entertained the Union Spartans Tuesday evening on Senior Night in Raider Country. Despite a valiant effort by the Raiders, Union won the game 66-53 to stay in contention for the Tri-County Conference Regular Season Championship.
The lone senior on the Midway roster, Heath Smith, came out with a lot of energy as he knocked down two 3-pointers in the first three minutes of the game. However, Spartan guard Brandon Lovette answered the call with two 3-pointers of his own in the first quarter. After an up-and-down, fast paced opening period, the Spartans led 17-14.
Midway had trouble scoring the ball in the second quarter as they only made two field goals and scored only 6 points. Natrone Banks used his speed and athletic ability to score the final two buckets of the half, and stretched the Union lead to 8 points, 28-20.
The third quarter was back and fourth offensively. Brandon Lovette scored 11 points in the quarter, including three made 3- point field goal attempts in a matter of 1:22 seconds of game time. Smith tried to answer for the Raiders as he converted on a reverse layup and two more 3-pointers of his own in the quarter. Jordan Killet scored a bucket inside for the Raiders while drawing the foul, and Justin Thompson scored on a runner in the lane as time expired in the third. The Raiders had cut into the Spartan lead now, and the score was 44-41, still in favor of the Spartans.
The Spartans opened the fourth quarter on a 9-2 run to build their lead up to a 53-43 margin just two minutes into the quarter. Natrone Banks controlled the game down the stretch as he has done such a great job of this season. After Justin Smith, Banks, and Lovette knocked down a pair of free throws each, the game was iced, and the Spartans kept their conference championship hopes alive.
“It was another one where we didn’t play great but found a way to win” opened Union head coach Tim Pope. “I thought we were good offensively and Brandon Lovette was very big for us making three three pointers in the third quarter. Midway did a good job of freeing up (Heath) Smith. We were trying to guard him though it might not have looked like it at times.”
Lovette finished with 24 points on 6-11 shooting from three point range. Banks had 12 points and 5 assists for the Spartans, and Damarius Davis chipped in 7 points and 5 rebounds.
Smith was the only Raider in double digits with 14 points and 9 rebounds in his final home game as a Raider.
When asked about Lakewood coming up on Friday evening, Pope stated that his team must guard the ball better. “One more to go. We have to guard the ball better and make sure that Emfinger and those guys don’t get hot from the three point line early because those guys can really shoot it. If we play good defense and score the ball the way we have been we should have a chance at the end of the game” finished Pope.
Union plays Lakewood Friday evening on Senior Night at Union, with a lot of marbles on the line.