For the second time this season, Midway and East Duplin squared off in an epic showdown that went down to the wire. This time the Lady Raiders found themselves on the wrong side of the numbers as East Duplin played spoiler and avenged their earlier loss, 57-54.
From beginning to end, the contest was a back-and-forth affair that saw flashes of momentum from both teams. The most critical stretch came in the fourth quarter when the Lady Panthers used an 11-0 run to turn a deficit into the biggest lead held be either team. Trailing 44-41, East Duplin found a quick rhythm as Midway suddenly found themselves trailing 52-44 with 2:24 remaining in the game.
Each team took turns leading at the end of each quarter as Midway led 14-12 at the end of the first.
The Lady Panthers reclaimed the lead on a quick three ball and the teams then went on to battle it out. East Duplin leading by three at the half, 26-23.
The action was just as tight in the third quarter with East Duplin quickly building their lead to as much as five points. The teams traded baskets but Midway, fueled by Leah Williams, JJ Sankey and Alyssa Wrench, found their footing. The trio combined for a series of steals and easy layups to give Midway the 36-33 lead headed to the fourth quarter.
The Raiders led for much of the quarter until the Lady Panthers quick burst put them ahead and putting Midway into a deficit they couldn’t overcome. Though Sankey would hit a three ball at the buzzer, it was too little too late as Midway fell for the first time this season, 57-54.
After the game, Midway head coach Allen McLamb was obviously disappointed but was still pleased at the effort his team gave.
“Overall, I thought we played well enough to win the game,” he said. “Our free throw shooting was OK, not terrible, but not great.”
“What stands out to me is three-point shooting. Down the stretch at a pivotal point in the game they hit back-to-back threes and it just sparked them and we couldn’t recover in time. We gave up just seven points in the third quarter and then turned around and gave 24 in the fourth, nine of which were on three-pointers. Take those out, we’re in good shape,” he lamented.
For Midway, Williams had another big night with a game-high 21 points, followed by Sankey with 11 and Wrench with 10.
With the loss, Midway is now 17-1 overall and falls into a tie with East Duplin for a share of first place in the East Central 2A Conference. They will look to get back on track on Friday as they celebrate Senior Night against James Kenan.
Reach Daron Barefoot at [email protected] Follow us on Facebook and Twitter @SampsonInd.