Chargers edge Mathews; host Pointers Friday
by Tom Hardin
Middlesex and Mathews battled from start to finish in a key Tidewater District varsity basketball game Friday night at MHS in Saluda.
The Chargers were outscored 30-11 during one stretch of the first half but regrouped to win 64-62 and improve to 2-2 in the Tidewater District and 4-11 overall.
The Chargers led 9-0 early in the first quarter but Mathews countered with a 10-0 run and led 11-10 at the end of the first quarter.
The Blue Devils kept up the pressure in the second quarter and led 30-20 at the half.
Middlesex regrouped at intermission and turned in an impressive 25-point third quarter to tie the game 45-45 heading into the final quarter.
The Chargers took the lead for good with four minutes to play, but Mathews refused to fold. The game was not decided until Michael Bess hit a clutch free throw with 4.5 seconds to play to give the Chargers a 64-60 lead.
Senior guard Malcolm Ward led the Chargers with 23 points and 8 rebounds, and Bess turned in a great all-around game with 12 points, 7 rebounds, 3 steals and no turnovers.
Senior forward Michael Eades continued to play well for Middlesex with 14 points and 11 rebounds; sophomore forward Cody Hunter tallied all 13 of his points in the second half; and sophomore point guard Davonne Bryant 2.
“Although we did not shoot well, we were able to win because we played a good mental game,” said Middlesex coach Neil Bailey. “We had a season low 8 turnovers and were able to constantly shift defenses seamlessly, which is a good sign for us.”
The John S. Clements Memorial Gym was packed and that added to the playoff atmosphere of the game between the two district rivals.
C.J. Kelly led Mathews (2-2, 7-10) with 23 points and Terrance Dixon added 10.
MHS 74, K&Q 39
On Jan. 13 at King and Queen (0-3, 0-13), Middlesex came out sluggish and trailed the Royal Tigers 24-22 at halftime.
Assistant coach Marlon Parker, a former three-sport standout at MHS, responded with an emotional halftime speech in the locker room that inspired the Chargers to start the second half on a 20-0 run.
“Marlon let the team know that playing for Middlesex means something,” said Coach Bailey. “He told them that how they played is a reflection on more than just them. It was good to see how well the team responded to Marlon’s heartfelt plea.”
Ward tallied all 24 of his points in the second half of the 74-39 win; Bess and Hunter had 10 apiece; Eades 9; Markus Hammond 6; Nigel Rich 5; Bryant 4; and Jake Fletcher and Sean Sutherlin 3 a piece.
An ailing MHS team lost 70-41 at Lancaster Teusday. Two starters were sick. Bess had 8 points and 4 assists, Eades had 8 points and 5 rebounds.
Middlesex returns to action this Friday, Jan. 23, at home against district foe West Point. On Tuesday, Jan. 27, MHS is at Colonial Beach. JV games begin at 6 p.m. and varsity games follow at 7:30 p.m.