NEWTOWN – The Miners dug themselves a deep hole and tried to climb back out of it Friday night against Tolsia, but they ran out of time.
Mingo Central trailed 51-30 heading into the final quarter and put on the full court press and cut the lead to six, but just couldn’t quite make it all the way back. The Rebels ended up winning the game 67-60.
They trailed 30-18 at the half and things didn’t get much better in the third quarter as the Rebels outscored Mingo Central 20-12 to extend their lead.
Austin Banks had eight in the first half and Julius Hatcher seven to keep Mingo Central close. Morgan Stacy had 12 in the first half for Tolsia, while Austin Brewer scored six.
But somebody didn’t tell the Miners the game was over. They fought back forcing several turnovers and hitting some clutch shots. They were forced to foul the Rebels and put them on the free throw line to buy some time. That worked as Tolsia went to the line 31 times in the final quarter, but only hit 15 of those shots. They did not score a field goal in the final period.
Mingo Central outscored Tolsia 28-16 in the final quarter as they fought back from the huge deficit.
“I’m real proud of them for not quitting. We could have easily quit being down 20,” said Mingo Central coach Brad Napier. “We fought back and cut it to six and had a chance, but we just missed a couple of shots at the end.”
The Miners were once again cold at the free throw line, especially in the first half. They were only 5-of-12, and some of those were front end of the bonus.
“We shoot them in practice every day,” Napier said of his team’s free throw shooting. “If we make our foul shots in the first half it’s a one or two point game. I think it is just mental right now.”
Napier said it was tough for the Miners to compete with the Rebels on the boards because of their size. Tolsia was able to get some offensive rebounds and second shots around the basket.
“They’re big – 6-9, 6-5 and 6-3 inside and we don’t have the size to really combat that without taking our good shooters off the floor,” Napier stressed. “We have to compete better against them on the boards.”
Mingo Central had defeated Tolsia earlier in the season on their home floor. This time the Rebels got a little revenge.
Napier felt his team was playing harder and with more energy Friday night than in the past couple of games. “It seems like everybody shoots lights out against us,” Napier said of his conference opponents. “I go watch these teams play and they don’t seem to shoot as good as they do against us.”
Banks led MCHS with 23 points and the senior point guard dished out seven assists. Hatcher finished with 12, while Marqus Cunningham had 12 points and eight rebounds. Alex Lee, who was playing sick, finished with seven.
Terry Davis led the Rebels with 17, while Stacy finished with 16, Brandon Clark 11, Jared Stroud 10 and Brewer nine for a balanced offensive attack.
Tolsia finished the game making 23-44 free throws for 52 percent, while the Miners were14-25 for 56 percent. Many of their misses were the front end of the one-and-one. Mingo Central shot around 50 percent from the floor and was 4-of-13 from behind the arc for 31 percent.
Mingo Central is now 5-4 on the season and 3-4 in the Cardinal Conference. They played Wayne on Saturday night. Tolsia is now 6-5 for the season and 4-2 in the conference.
Score by quarters:
THS … 13 17 20 16 – 67
MC …. 10 8 12 28 – 60
Tolsia (6-5) – Davis 17, Stroud 10, Stacy 16, Brewer 9, Clark 11, Williams 4, Ferguson 0.
Mingo Central (5-4) – Banks 23, Hatfield 0, Lester 3, Hatcher 12, Cunningham 13, May 0, West 0, Lee 7, Cline 2, Simpkins 0, Hammond 0, Barker 0.