It was a long night on the hardwood on Wednesday for the Midway Raiders as a powerful Clinton Dark Horses squad came into Spivey’s Corner. By the time the dust had settled, Clinton was headed back down Highway 421 with an impressive 76-34 thumping over their rival Midway.
“It was really good to see our guys come out and play hard from the start at both ends of the floor. We had been a little sluggish the past two games but playing an in-county rival like Midway always gets our guys ready to play,” said Clinton coach Randy Jordan.
It was clear from the beginning that Clinton was going to be a force as they used a stifling defense to fuel an equally aggressive offense that was simply too much for the Raiders to handle.
After both teams converted a pair of easy baskets, the Dark Horses turned to a full court press that gave Midway plenty of trouble. Clinton scored a pair of quick baskets to push the lead up to 7-2 which yielded a Raiders timeout. The timeout did little to slow the visiting team as Clinton concluded the opening quarter with a 22-8 lead.
That lead only grew in the second quarter as the Dark Horses continued to force the issue. Their defense just didn’t allow Midway any room as the Raiders only mustered five points in the second quarter, all of which came on free throws. Clinton, on the other hand, exploded for 26 points in the second quarter, further separating themselves from a Midway team that was looking for answers. Entering the halftime break, the Dark Horses were in command with a blistering 48-13 lead.
“We were able to get the tempo where we wanted it and kept switching our defenses from zone to man and back again. This confused their guards and led to us getting some easy baskets in transition,” said Jordan.
It didn’t get any better for the Raiders in the second half as Clinton was able to achieve the 40-point running clock mercy rule by the end of the game. Offensive production picked up for Midway as the Raiders nearly doubled their score, but the damage had long been done as the Dark Horses won in convincing fashion, 76-34.
“We reminded our guys that the margin of the win is not as important as our execution and how we go about our business at this time of year. We have to keep getting better every day as we will get nothing but everyone’s best shot from here on out,” he added.
“There is a “target on our back” and how we respond to that will go a long way in determining how far we eventually go this season,” Jordan concluded.
Leading the way for Clinton was Dewan Lesesne with 17 points and Xzavier Howard with 12. Also contributing was Kahari and Kris Williams, each with seven and Desmond Rayner with six.
For Midway, Colby Pope led the way with 10 points, followed by Cameron Barefoot and Cole Parker each with five points.
With the loss, Midway drops to 5-9 overall and 0-5 in the East Central 2A Conference. They are right back in action on Thursday hosting Goldsboro followed by Wallace-Rose Hill on Friday.
Clinton improves to 16-1 overall and 7-0 in conference play and will return to their home gymnasium on Monday as they host James Kenan.
Reach Daron Barefoot at [email protected] Follow us on Facebook and Twitter @SampsonInd.