EATON TWP. — It was the kind of second-half performance Midview needed to break a three-game skid, boost the players’ confidence and create some momentum before the end of the regular season.
Unfortunately for the Middies, it was Fairview that turned in the stellar two quarters Friday night. The Warriors erased a 15-point halftime deficit to come away with a 58-57 West Shore Conference victory at Ed Kubuski gym.
“We’ve lost four in a row now,” Middies coach Troy DiFranco said. “A one-point loss tonight, a double-overtime loss last week … we’re not finding ways to get the job done.”
It looked as if Midview (6-11, 5-7 WSC) was on its way to an easy season sweep of the Warriors as senior guards Kevin Allen and Derek Haney came out firing. Both scored eight points in helping the Middies roll to a 36-21 halftime lead, capped by a 14-1 run to finish the half.
“We were executing well,” DiFranco said. “We were rebounding well, our defense was causing turnovers and we had good shot selection.
“But we’ve said during practice all week, you have to play all 32 minutes. The teams are too good in this conference to expect to win games when you don’t play all 32 minutes.”
While the second half staggered the Middies, it was the final three minutes of the third quarter that served as the uppercut that sent them to the canvas. With Midview leading 43-27, the Warriors scored 10 straight points to pull within six.
“We had our chance to put them away,” DiFranco said. “That was a terrible third quarter.”
Fairview (7-11, 3-9) may have won the game thanks to a shrewd substitution by coach Tim Hurley.
Starting center Bryan Benzinger had eight points and six rebounds in the first half to keep the Warriors in the game. But Hurley benched the 6-foot-7 senior during a good portion of the second half for 6-5 junior Marty Patton, who turned in a 12-point, seven-rebound performance.
But it wasn’t even Patton’s work in the paint that Hurley wanted.
“The way things were going in the first half, with all of (Midview’s) guards on the floor, we decided to make the switch,” Hurley said. “We may have lost a bit of size inside, but Patton has the ability to come out on the perimeter and play defense. That helped turn the tide.”
Hurley understands the rough stretch Midview is currently riding, as the Warriors also have suffered a bunch of close losses — including a 62-58 home loss to Midview on Jan. 11.
“We’ve had five or six games this season that we’ve lost by four points or less,” Hurley said. “So we’ve been on the short end of a lot of games just like this. This is really the kind of game that you can build on.”
With three games left in the regular season, the Middies are hoping to hear those words from DiFranco soon.
Contact Shaun Bennett at 329-7137
Fairview 58, Midview 57
FAIRVIEW (58): Sean Nally 0-0-0, Neil Schaefer 2-0-5, John Fritz 5-4-14, Adam Johans 3-3-10, Robert Fraser 1-1-4, Adam Dickey 0-1-1, Kevin McLaughlin 0-0-0, Marty Patton 6-0-12, Bryan Benzinger 6-0-12. Totals 23-9-58.
MIDVIEW (57): Kevin Allen 2-2-8, Justin Casselle 3-1-8, Mike Mercado 0-0-0, Cody Gunselman 2-4-9, Jordan English 1-4-6, Nick Clark 3-0-7, Brad Gross 2-4-8, Derek Haney 4-2-11, Matt Borsz 0-0-0. Totals 17-17-57.
Fairview 11 10 16 21 — 58
Midview 13 23 7 14 — 57
Three-point goals: (F) Schaefer, Fraser, Johans. (M) Allen 2, Casselle, Haney, Clark. Turnovers: Fairview 15, Midview 14. Rebounds: Fairview 38 (Benzinger 11), Midview 37 (Clark 12). Fouls: Fairview 22, Midview 21. Fouled out: Schaefer, Benzinger. Technical foul: Benzinger.
Junior varsity: Midview 47, Fairview 38.