EATON TWP. -- Don’t overlook Midview’s basketball team this season.
At least that’s the message the Middies delivered at their own DiFranco Tournament in claiming the title for the second straight year and sixth time in the 18-year history of honoring longtime teacher and coach Bob DiFranco.
On Saturday, Midview defeated Elyria Catholic 68-59 in a tough, physical battle of longtime rivals. It’s the third straight year EC and Midview have battled in the final of the tournament. The Panthers won their only DiFranco title in 2015.
“EC’s a super talented group,” Midview coach Jim Brabenec said. “They have some of the best players in the area. If we were going to win the game, we had to do all the little things. We had to take charges, we had to get all the 50-50 balls and that was one of the keys for us.”
Gage Carnes led the Middies (2-0) with 26 points and 13 rebounds. He was 11-of-17 from the field and 3-of-4 at the foul line.
“We had everything going for us,” the 6-foot-6 senior said. “We made our shots. We stopped them. Winning this (tournament) really means something. This whole tournament, all we wanted was EC and we got it.”
“I’m glad Gage is on our team, I’ll tell you that,” Brabenec said.
The Panthers (1-1) jumped out to a 14-7 lead in the first quarter and appeared on the verge of winning easily but the Middies had other ideas. Junior Isiah Johnson came off the bench to ignite a second-quarter rally that allowed Midview to completely turn the game around. The Middies outscored EC 21-6 in the quarter and took a 32-22 lead at the break.
“I just try to bring a spark off the bench every game,” said Johnson, who finished with 12 points including nine in the crucial second quarter. “Give my teammates energy so they can feed off of me. Coach told us (Saturday morning) at shootaround, ‘Don’t be a vampire. Don’t suck the energy out of people, try to give the energy -- try to be an energy provider.’ That’s what I’m trying to do off the bench.”
EC bounced back in the third quarter and managed to take a 51-48 lead with 5:53 left in the game on a short jumper by Jarred Logan. But Johnson, Aiden Breggins and Vince Birth each hit 3-pointers to put the Middies back on top, 57-51, with 2:50 to play in the game.
“I thought the Panthers did a great job of (getting the lead),” EC coach Phil Kuchta said. “I was proud of our guys for their effort. They showed a lot of heart and a lot of character. To get to that point after being down 10, we just didn’t make enough plays down the stretch. We let Midview get to the basket way too easy. I don’t think it was anything Midview did. We beat ourselves.”
Two sophomores played well for EC. Edward Wright II scored 15 points while Branson Taylor chipped in 12 and seven rebounds. Senior Dorian Crutcher scored 14 and Logan had nine.
Contact Tim Gebhardt at 329-7135 or email@example.com.
Midview 68, Elyria Catholic 59
ELYRIA CATHOLIC (59): Edward Wright 6-0-15, Donovan Warfield 1-1-3, Dorian Crutcher 3-7-14, Jarred Logan 4-0-9, Branson Taylor 6-0-12, Spencer Barhorst 1-0-2, David Griffin 1-0-2, Brenden Holley 1-0-2, Nate Damron 0-0-0. Totals 23-8-59.
MIDVIEW (68): Aidan Breggins 3-1-8, Gage Carnes 11-3-26, Vince Birth 3-0-8, Jonny Manning 3-2-8, Seamus Higley 0-0-0, Isiah Johnson 4-1-12, Trevor Porter 3-0-6, Dane Richard 0-0-0. Totals 27-7-68.
Elyria Catholic 16 6 21 13 -- 59
Midview 11 21 14 22 -- 68
Three-point goals: Elyria Catholic 5-20 (Wright 3, Crutcher, Logan), Midview 7-16 (Johnson 3, Birth 2, Breggins, Carnes). Field goals: Elyria Catholic 23-51 (45 percent), Midview 27-50 (54 percent). Free throws: Elyria Catholic 8-14 (57 percent), Midview 7-12 (58 percent). Rebounds: Elyria Catholic 33 (Logan 8), Midview 29 (Carnes 13). Turnovers: Elyria Catholic 15, Midview 14. Fouls: Elyria Catholic 16, Midview 15. Technical fouls: Logan, Carnes.
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