By Lannis Timmons
Middletown came to town with a 4-11 record in the conference and 5-16 overall record, and host, the Colerain Cardinals, had a 4-12 league record, and 7-14 overall.
In the first quarter, it was the EJ Williams show, as the 6’11 Middletown senior scored nine points in the quarter, with a number of post moves in the paint, and showing a nice shooting touch around the free line. But, Colerain’s Rodney Wiley scored all six of their points in the quarter as the junior connected on two three-point goals, but it wasn’t enough, as the Middies led 9-6 at the end of the quarter.
When both teams started the second quarter, the Middies and the Cardinals traded baskets, as Jawunn Bailey finished with five points to help the Middies go into the locker room ahead by four points 18-14, But again, the Cardinals kept fighting, as Middletown won the quarter 9-8.
As the third quarter got underway, the Middies’ Aaron Jones started to step it up, as he was able to get to the basket. Rather it was taking the defense off the dribble or getting on the offensive glass, scoring on a lay-up. Colerain’s Emmanuel Gaither help put a spark in the Cardinals’ offense by knocking down a three-pointer, and scoring a lay up in transition, but the Middies were still winning 33-25 as the quarter came to a close.
Colerain made a strong push at the Middies in the fourth quarter, as they won the quarter 11-8. Rodney Wiley found the range from behind the three-point line again, as he was able to find the basket two times, and score nine points in the quarter, and led the Cardinals in scoring with 16 points. Colerain got the Middies eight-point lead down to two points, as they got a steal off of their press. Then Middletown missed a field goal attempt, and the Cardinals converted on their next possession to make the score 38-36. But the Middies held off Colerain, as they made some clutch free throws down the stretch, to pull out the 41-36 victory.
Saturday February 24, the Cardinals play Wilimington in the tournament, while Middletown will wait and play the winner between Withrow and Anderson on Wednesday, February 28.