EATON TWP. — Midview held a 10-point lead over the Valley Forge Patriots late in the third quarter of their non-conference matchup Tuesday night, but a five-minute scoring drought erased all of that advantage and made it a back-and-forth game with 4:05 to play.
But when the Middies needed it most, forward Jonny Manning scored six of his game-high 18-points over the final three-plus minutes and pushed Midview to a 57-53 victory in front of the home fans.
“I just know I wasn’t hitting my shots and seemed to be moving kind of slow at the beginning of the game, so I kind of gave myself a little pep talk at halftime and said, ‘I’ve got to get into it. I’ve got to play hard,’” Manning said. “Coach really amped us up, too, saying, ‘We weren’t bringing the energy.’
“That was just my job when we came out in the third and fourth quarters. I just wanted to bring the energy.”
Manning tallied 12 of his 18 points in the second half, but when he was not scoring, the junior post stepped up in other ways, blocking a pair of shots, altering the release point for several others, hustling after loose balls and generating steals, in addition to controlling the glass.
Manning pulled down 13 of Midview’s 39 rebounds.
“I want to be the hustle player,” Manning said. “I want to be the guy that does all the little things. I want to be everywhere for our teammates, too.”
Although Manning took over later in the game, senior guard Isiah Johnson anchored Midview’s offense in the first two quarters.
Johnson scored 10 points in the first half and finished with 17, including one of just three 3-pointers for the Middies (10-11).
“I think coming hard off those screens and getting to the basket were really working tonight, and I tried to use those screens that Jonny was setting to an advantage because I felt like I had the quickness advantage coming off the screen,” Johnson said.
Midview coach Jim Brabenec felt Johnson set a tone early in the first half.
“I thought Isiah played an excellent game for us,” Brabenec said. “We needed it. Valley Forge gave us everything we could handle. They’re a scrappy group. They play hard, and they played harder than us tonight, unfortunately.
“That’s kind of been the story of our year. That game, a four-point game, you knew it was going to come down to the end, and tonight we were fortunate to come down and make enough plays.”
Brabenec has plenty of things he plans on emphasizing in practice as the regular season winds to a close and the team gets set to open tournament play at home against Berea-Midpark next Wednesday night.
“We try to gut out games,” Brabenec said. “We’ve got to try to win close ones, try to compete and try to get loose balls, try to take charges, try to make free throws and layups. Until we start doing those little things, these games are going to continue to come down to the wire. We were fortunate that we made one or two more plays than Valley Forge did.”
Midview 57, Valley Forge 53
VALLEY FORGE (53): Logan Sasse 6-1-16, Nick Kugler 2-0-4, Nick Marchese 2-0-5, Jalen Varner 2-0-4, Joey Browning 3-1-8, Connor Maricic 2-0-4, Chris Sledge 2-0-4, Miguel Ortiz 4-0-8. Totals 23-2-53.
MIDVIEW (57): Isiah Johnson 8-0-17, Nyco Vidal 1-0-2, Andrew Gooch 2-0-5, Jesse Franklin 4-2-11, Marcell Young 2-0-4, Jonny Manning 7-4-18. Totals 24-6-57.
Valley Forge 11 13 17 12 — 53
Midview 12 16 21 8 — 57
Three-point goals: Valley Forge 5-18 (27.8 percent; Sasse 3, Browning, Marchese), Midview 3-8 (37.5 percent; Johnson, Gooch, Franklin). Field goals: Valley Forge 23-58 (39.7 percent), Midview 24-56 (42.9 percent). Free throws: Valley Forge 2-3 (66.7 percent), Midview 6-13 (46.2 percent). Rebounds: Valley Forge 33, Midview 39. Turnovers: Valley Forge 14, Midview 15.
Junior varsity: Midview, 61-49