The Raiders had a tough outing Monday night at home against East Bladen during nonconference basketball. While the games were close at varying moments both girls and boys suffered their first loss.
The Lady Raiders took the first crack at East Bladen and kept it close for the majority of the second half, but ultimately lost 48-43.
Turnovers, plus the inability to knockdown shots and finish at the rim massively hindered the Raiders. They struggled to maintain possession across the entirety the game, making lazy and telegraphed passes, failing to colllect loose balls — every way possible to turn it over, they did it. Compound that over all four quarters and Midway ended up with an unsavory 26 turnovers.
To say they couldn’t hit a shot is also an understatement. The worst of if it was layups which they missed an abundance of, both easy and contested. They also didn’t shoot well overall and were bad at the free throw line.
“This will be the story of any game when this is how you play,” said Midway coach Allen McLamb. “Shooting was horrible and when we got around the rim we couldn’t make anything. We also had 20 plus turnovers, and despite that it was still a 5-point game.”
Second half defensive effort is what allowed Midway to get within five points multiple times. After being outplayed in every aspect in the first half, they entered halftime down 25-15. After the adjustments they had their most complete quarter of the night in the third, outscoring the Eagles 16-12.
They’d go toe-to-toe with them in the fourth, but being outrebounded down the stretch sealed their fate.
The Midway boys played a solid game but let the gap widen to far in the second half, which led to their defeat 53-41.
Length was the deciding factor in the contest. While Midway kept it neck-and-neck in the first half, they were just unable to deal with the height and length difference.
This became very apparent as the game progressed, as they could never close the distance due to allowing second chance opportunities. It also disrupted their entire game plan of wanting to play inside-out, as it was nearly impossible to get anything going down low.
They also didn’t shoot the ball particularly well during the early parts of the game. Plus, they couldn’t do much to make up for the difference in rebounding on both ends of the court.
“First of all, I’ve got to credit my guys: they played with unbelievable heart,” Raiders coach Aaron Lane said. “East Bladen brought something that we just couldn’t match, and that was length.”
“They had some guys that were just too tall for us and we weren’t able to match them on the boards,” he added. “We also couldn’t penetrate their zone the way we wanted to because of their length and size. We just couldn’t get that initial pass to the high post which basically kept us from being able to work inside out like we wanted.”
Even with the size problems, it wouldn’t be until the second half before it became a major factor. Going into halftime they were on the Eagles’ heels, 19-17, despite having a scoring drought in the first quarter.
A 2-point game turned into a 14-point margin in the third, 34-20, which ended up being too big of a hole to climb out of. They closed the gap in the fourth getting, within 3. Length, however, still killed them as East Bladen constantly got second, third or even fourth chance opportunities that they just couldn’t prevent.