For the second game in a row, the Midway Raiders fought a valiant battle to the very end, but just like Friday night, they were denied their first conference win. Hosting Spring Creek for their final home game of the season, Midway fell in an overtime thriller, 60-56.
For the first couple of minutes, it looked as though the Gators were going to slowly walk away from the Raiders. Spring Creek opened a 7-0 lead early, but Midway battled and kept the visitors within striking distance. By the conclusion of the quarter, Midway trailed just 13-12.
Slowly and methodically, the Gators slowly stretched their lead back out throughout the second quarter as Midway struggled to secure defensive rebounds. Just before the half, Spring Creek nailed a three ball to jolt their lead to double digits at 29-19.
Out of the break, Midway didn’t allow the deficit to intimidate them. The Raiders were able to get a little better offensive production throughout the third to help keep the lead under double digits. They would trail by seven headed into the fourth at 41-34.
Things got heated in the fourth quarter as Midway continued to fight their way back into contention. The Raiders turned up their defensive intensity, turning to an aggressive press to create opportunities. The new strategy paid off as Midway began to really chip into the lead.
With Cameron Barefoot on the line, Midway was looking to cut the deficit down to one point but back-to-back technicals, one of which was a double technical that was also called on Spring Creek, quickly changed the game as Midway’s Jam Rich was disqualified. Barefoot went one for two at the line to trim the deficit to two points, but the Gators were then awarded two free throws and possession thanks to the technical fouls. They would hit both free throws and after a made three-pointer, the lead was right back up to seven. Another three-ball later with 5:12 left on the clock, Spring Creek was back in command by 10 at 48-38.
The Raiders, just like Friday night, had one more run on them. They continued to use a press to pressure the Spring Creek offense. Mounting a 14-4 run thanks in part to Spring Creek turnovers and foul issues, Midway rallied to tie the game after a pair of free throws by Barefoot to make it 52-52. Neither team would score by the end of the fourth quarter and the game moved into overtime.
In the overtime period, neither team achieved much offensive success. In fact, all of Spring Creeks overtime points were earned that the free throw line. Midway was able to connect on one three pointer and converted a free throw, but the Gators did just enough to secure the win at 60-56.
For Midway, Colby Pope continued to be a workhorse for the Raiders, tallying 21 points on the night while Barefoot had nine and Hykeem Rains had eight.
With the loss, Midway now stands at 5-13 overall and 0-10 in the East Central 2A Conference. They concluded their regular season with back to back road games on Wednesday and Thursday, first taking on Wallace-Rose Hill then finishing up at Goldsboro.
Reach Daron Barefoot at email@example.com. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter @SampsonInd.