Raiders split wins against James Kenan

By Daron Barefoot - Sports Writer
Madeline Royal brings the ball upcourt and scans the defense, looking for an open teammate. -
Midway’s Lashann Autry drives the lane against an James Kenan defender. -

Girls

It was Senior Night at Midway on Friday as the Lady Raiders hosted James Kenan in a conference showdown. Celebrating their senior years were Leah Williams, Hannah Lucas, Madeline Royal, Logan Baggett and Karizma Smith.

After losing their first game earlier in the week at the hands of East Duplin, Midway entered the contest hungry to get back into the win column.

The first quarter was all Midway as the Raiders held the Lady Tigers to just four points. Midway led 16-4 after the opening frame with Williams tallying 11 of those, nine of which were on three pointers.

The second half saw James Kenan come storming back. After Midway led 22-8, the Lady Tigers mounted a 10-0 run to get back within 22-18.

They drew even closer to within 28-26 before Midway concluded the half leading 32-26.

Out of the break, Midway stretched their lead back to nine right off the bat as Williams connected on another three ball to make it 35-26. Alyssa Wrench then converted a free throw to push the lead back to double digits at 36-26. Midway would complete an 11-0 run to make it 39-26 before James Kenan finally converted a basket to stop the run. Midway continued to roll, stretching their lead to as many as 16 points and led 48-33 headed to the fourth quarter.

The fourth quarter shaped up much like the third as Midway continued to gain separation from the Lady Tigers. With 5:00 left in the game, Midway pushed the margin over 20 points at 59-38.

Midway continued to pour it on, pushing their lead to 30 points with 2:00 left at 68-38.

After senior Baggett picked up a quick five points at the end of the game, the Lady Raiders cruised on to victory 75-39.

“We came out and played great in the first quarter. Second quarter we got a little lazy and they made a run at us but as usual I stressed winning the third quarter to the girls at halftime and we did that. We came out, played great team ball and played solid defense which fueled our offense,” McLamb said.

Once again, Williams turned in a stellar performance to lead her team in scoring. She had a game high 29 points followed by JJ Sankey with 11. Wrench contributed nine points and Royal had eight.

With the win, Midway improves to 18-1 on the season and 8-1 in the conference.

They conclude their regular season home schedule on Monday as they host Spring Creek.

Boys

The Midway men’s basketball team has had their share of struggles throughout their first year in the new East Central 2A Conference. Celebrating Senior Night on Friday night in a conference dual against James Kenan, a determined Raiders team came out fighting.

Although their efforts didn’t yield a victory against the Tigers, the fan enthusiasm and the love from their coach was evident despite a heartbreaking 65-58 defeat.

The opening quarter was a tight battle throughout. Despite James Kenan opening a slim lead early, Midway hung around and trailed by five at the first break, 15-10.

It was evident in the second quarter that the Tigers physical interior was causing the Raiders some trouble but Midway continued to fight. Senior Colby Pope put the Raiders on his shoulders, he contributed 13 of Midway’s 16 second quarter points to help keep the Raiders in striking distance. At the break, James Kenan was clinging to a 27-26 lead.

Out of the break, the Tigers went right to work and opened some separation between themselves and the Raiders. Their lead swelled to double digits at 42-31 before the Raiders came clawing back. Answering with a 7-0 run, Midway got back to within 42-38 before falling back down by 47-41 at the end of the quarter.

The Tigers maintained a five to six point lead through the first half of the fourth quarter until they hit a spurt that saw them build their biggest lead of the game at 60-47. Still, Midway had one last run in them.

Bryson Core began the Raiders comeback with a three ball to make it 60-50. After the Tigers converted a free throw to make it 61-50, Cole Parker hit a three pointer of his own to make it 61-53. Midway then forced a James Kenan turnover to, further chipping into the deficit to make it 61-56.

Things really got interesting when another empty Tigers possession led to an “and one” situation for Midway’s Hykeem Rains. Rains was on the foul line for one shot after nailing a basket to make it 61-58. His free throw bounced off, Rains collected his own rebound.

Officiating had been shaky most of the night but the most controversial moment came when Rains drove the lane and was swarmed by three Tigers defenders. Going up for the shot, Rains appeared to be fouled but the official nearest the play whistled a jump ball instead, much to the displeasure of the Raider faithful, and possession was handed back over to James Kenan.

With under a minute left, Midway was forced to start fouling but the gas had ran out for the Raiders offense as James Kenan would hang on, 65-58.

Offensively for Midway, Pope was a force for the Raiders, finishing the game with 24 points. Also cashing in solid nights was Cole with 10 points and Rains with six.

With the loss, Midway drops to 5-12 overall and is 0-9 in the conference. They will rap up their regular season home games on Monday night as they host Spring Creek.

Madeline Royal brings the ball upcourt and scans the defense, looking for an open teammate.
https://www.clintonnc.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/web1_MR.jpgMadeline Royal brings the ball upcourt and scans the defense, looking for an open teammate.

Midway’s Lashann Autry drives the lane against an James Kenan defender.
https://www.clintonnc.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/web1_LA1.jpgMidway’s Lashann Autry drives the lane against an James Kenan defender.

By Daron Barefoot

Sports Writer

Reach Daron Barefoot at [email protected] Follow us on Facebook and Twitter @SampsonInd.

Reach Daron Barefoot at [email protected] Follow us on Facebook and Twitter @SampsonInd.