In the opening round quarterfinals of the Tri-County Conference Tournament, the seventh seeded Midway Raiders took on the No. 2 seeded Union Spartans in a rematch of a decision that Union had already won twice this season. Despite a valiant effort by the Raiders, the Spartans won to advance to the semifinals, 60-53.
The first quarter was a barn burner as each team was scoring the ball very effectively. Midway’s lone senior, Heath Smith, dropped in two 3-pointers in the quarter for 8 early points, while balanced Spartan scoring kept the game tight after one quarter, as Midway led 16-15.
The Spartans began clicking more defensively in the second quarter, only allowing 11 points in the period. Brandon Lovette’s two triples and 7 points in the quarter helped Union take a 33-27 lead into the halftime locker room.
The Raiders came out in the second half with a lot of energy, as they used a balanced scoring attack from Andre Sankey, Quincy Baggett and Jordan Killett to draw within two, 44-42.
The Raiders would tie the game early in the fourth quarter at 44, then the Spartans’s defense absolutely shut the Raiders down. Jordan Killett made a lay-up with 5:10 to play, and the Raiders wouldn’t score again until the 1:02 mark in the fourth period. The four minute and eight second drought by the Raiders would plaugue them, as the Spartans had built a 9 point lead, 57-48. The Spartans made enough free throws late to survive a great effort by Coach Leonard Henry’s Raiders to send them home for the season.
Natrone Banks led the way for Union with 9 points and 6 assists. Desmond Faison and Damarius Davis each scored 8 points, grabbing 6 and 9 rebounds respectively.
Heath Smith led the Raiders and had a game-high 10 points, while Jordan Killett chipped in 6, and Andre Sankey had 8.
“Well we’ve been sloppy these past couple of games. We could not stop their dribble penetration in the first half, so as bad as I didn’t want to, knowing the shooting ability of (Heath) Smith, we went into a zone in the second half. I’m pleased with our effort, and we made just enough free throws late (8-14 in the fourth quarter) to get away with the win” said Union coach Tim Pope.
Union will play James Kenan Thursday evening, after the Tigers upset the No. 3 seed Pender Patriots in the first game played on Tuesday.