AMHERST — With starting point guard Marcell Young sidelined with an ankle injury, Midview needed someone else to run the show.
Isiah Johnson and Nyco Vidal accepted the challenge.
Johnson and Vidal controlled both ends of the floor in the Middies’ 58-45 Southwestern Conference road victory over Amherst.
“I thought our guys came out and really gave us a gutsy performance,” Midview coach Jim Brabenec said. “I thought Nyco stepped up and hit some shots, but what isn’t going to be seen in the box score was Isiah Johnson doing a really nice job running the show for us. He got us organized.”
Johnson scored seven points and handed out four assists, but his job pressuring the ball on the defensive end was a critical part of the Middies’ victory. He recorded four steals and had a number of tips and deflections that led to Comets’ turnovers.
Vidal’s torrid shooting in the game’s first 9:19 allowed Midview (3-1, 2-0 SWC) to take a commanding lead. Vidal hit four 3-pointers in the first quarter, than added another two on the Middies’ first two possessions of the second quarter as they put Amherst (0-4, 0-2) into a 24-13 hole it spent the rest of the game trying to climb out of.
Vidal ended the game with 21 points on 7-of-11 shooting from 3-point range.
“The basket looked like a pool,” Vidal said of his first-half barrage. “I wanted to do what was best for the team and it was the best shot every single time. I was wide open.”
Midview led 35-25 at halftime and took a 40-28 lead on a pair of Johnny Manning free throws with 4:29 left in the third. That’s when Amherst came alive.
Sophomore Ty Witherspoon’s short jumper capped an 8-0 Comets’ run that trimmed the Middies’ lead to 40-36 with 2:00 left in the third. That’s when Amherst went cold.
The Comets didn’t score again until the 1:51 mark of the fourth quarter as Midview put the game away with a 13-0 burst.
“We made that little run there and we were attacking the basket and dishing down the middle,” Amherst coach Pat Bray said. “Then, all of a sudden, we reverted back to where we didn’t look like we knew what to do. We’ve just got to become better offensive basketball players.”
Manning, Midview’s starting center, missed most of the first half with foul trouble. He picked up his fourth foul with 2:16 left in the third.
“All week we were stressing ‘next man up,’” Brabenec said. “Johnny got in foul trouble early and often tonight. It seemed like he wasn’t on the floor a lot and I thought our guys did a good job gang rebounding. Jesse Franklin did a great job off the bench getting his nose dirty and getting some for us.”
Vidal said the Middies never panicked when Manning was sent to the bench.
“Defensively we had to pressure like crazy and just grind it out,” he said. “This was a grind-it-out win. We trust every single person on our roster, and with one person out the next guy will step up.”
Midview’s starters outscored Amherst’s starting five, 51-18. Weathrspoon led the Comets with 18 points and seven rebounds.
“Ty has been struggling with a hurt wrist so we’ve had to hold him out of practice,” Bray said. “He came in and was playing well and finishing, so he played a lot of minutes. He played a great game tonight.
“We’re getting there, now we’ve got to get over the top. We get ourselves back in the game, put ourselves in a good position, then I don’t know what it is. We’ve got to find our identity.”
Contact Mike Perry at 329-7135 or email@example.com.
Midview 58, Amherst 45
MIDVIEW (58): Isiah Johnson 3-1-7, Nyco Vidal 7-0-21, Tyler Dawson 4-0-9, Dane Reichard 2-0-4, Johnny Manning 2-6-10, Jesse Franklin 2-0-5. Totals 20-9-58.
AMHERST (45): Kyle Ferguson 3-0-7, Khennedy Scagliozzo 1-0-2, Gavin Darmos 1-0-3, Ryan Hritsko 1-0-2, Christian Pfeiffer 2-0-4, Alex Karohl 1-0-2, Ty Weatherspoon 7-4-18, Troy Branchen 1-1-3, Coltin Camp 2-0-4. Totals 19-5-45.
Midview 18 17 10 13 -- 58
Amherst 13 12 11 9 -- 45
Three-point goals: Midview 9-24 (Vidal 7, Dawson, Franklin), Amherst 2-18 (Ferguson, Darmos). Field goals: Midview 20-45 (44.4 percent), Amherst 19-52 (36.5 percent). Free throws: Midview 9-12 (75 percent), Amherst 5-10 (50 percent). Rebounds: Midview 24 (Dawson 5), Amherst 39 (Weatherspoon 7). Turnovers: Midview 13, Amherst 19. Total fouls: Midview 12, Amherst 19.
Junior varsity: Amherst, 44-28.