LANGLEY --- An exciting finish to the girls game Friday night at Midland Valley primed the gym for an intense region rivalry in the boys game between the Mustangs and South Aiken.
Six minutes into the first quarter, all the energy was gone.
The Midland Valley boys hung on for a 46-33 win in an offense-optional contest that saw the two teams combine for a 1 for 18 shooting start and 14 first-quarter points. The Mustangs led 8-6 heading into the second quarter and slowly pulled away for a region victory.
"We'll take it," Midland Valley coach Mark Snelgrove said after his team won despite shooting 33.3 percent from the field.
"We win ugly. Most games we win, we win ugly."
The 14-point first quarter wasn't the low point for the two teams. Midland Valley outscored South Aiken 8-4 in a slow-paced third quarter. For South Aiken, the lack of size and depth off the bench got in the way. Midland Valley hurt itself with poor shot selection.
"I think we're in a little bit of a rut on the offensive side," Snelgrove said. "Defensively overall -- that's what keeps us in games."
The Thoroughbreds shot 30.4 percent (14 of 46) from the field and scored just 15 second-half points.
"We didn't execute one bit," South Aiken coach Kelly Nichols said. "It was disappointing."
Nolan Meyer led Midland Valley with 13 points, including three consecutive baskets in the second half to give the Mustangs a 13-point lead. Teammate Marquett Carr added 11 points as the only other double-digit scorer of the game. Snelgrove said forward Niko Hatcher added at least 14 rebounds.
The Mustangs kept their hold on second place in the Region 5-AAA standings with the victory and remained a game behind frontrunner Dreher. South Aiken fell to 1-4 in region play.
- Despite giving up a 10-0 run to Midland Valley at the beginning of the fourth quarter, South Aiken's girls rallied for a 66-61 region victory.
Courtney Williams broke South Aiken's scoring drought with a layup at the 4:01 mark of the fourth quarter to cut Midland Valley's lead to 59-52. The Lady Thoroughbreds finished the game on a 14-2 run.
Reach Billy Byler at (706) 823-3216 or email@example.com