The Middle Creek boys basketball team may be making more than a late-season run at respectability. The Mustangs are starting to look downright dangerous.
The Mustangs put on a show Tuesday night on their home court, walloping a solid Holly Springs squad 78-37 in a Southwest Wake Athletic Conference contest. With a third consecutive win, Middle Creek improved to 11-10 overall and 6-5 in SWAC play.
Middle Creek coach David Kushner had plenty of reason to feel pretty good about his squad, which scored the first six points of the game and forged a 23-8 first quarter lead. From there, the Mustangs never looked back in rolling over a surprisingly flat Holly Springs squad (11-9, 8-3 SWAC).
“We pressured from the tip about as well as we have all season,” Kushner said. “We showed as much energy from the bench and the entire team as I’ve seen.”
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Sophomore guard Shammond Hicks was terrific throughout, scoring on a drive to the basket and drilling a 3 as the Mustangs built a 15-point lead in the opening quarter.
Hicks, who finished with a career-high 25 points, was impressed by his team’s performance in such a critical late-season matchup.
“We jumped out big on them and never let up,” said Hicks, who added seven steals. “We played a lot of strong defense, which led to our success on offense.”
Junior forward Demetrius Bastian also electrified the gym with a pair of dunks in the first eight minutes as the Mustangs powered their way to a big advantage.
Holly Springs enjoyed its finest stretch of play in the first four minutes of the second quarter, pulling within 31-17 on a Ryan Blount 3-pointer and Davis Ferguson drive to the basket. Middle Creek seemed unfazed, however, closing on a 9-4 run for a 40-21 halftime advantage.
Hicks connected on a 3 and Bryson Cousins hit a jumper for two of his 11 points in reserve. Sophomore forward Daniel Jackson also pumped in 11 points in all for the victors, while Sheldon Eberhardt had 10 as the Mustangs spread the wealth of points.
Holly Springs woes continued in the second half and no Golden Hawks’ player reached double-digits in scoring. Shaquille Wilson opened the second half with a successful drive to the basket for the Golden Hawks, but his team then went seven minutes without a hoop as Middle Creek built a 60-24 lead.
Golden Hawks senior center Henry Simpson said it wasn’t Holly Springs’ night.
“Anything that could go wrong seemed to go wrong,” Simpson said. “They played some of the best defense we’ve seen this season and our shots didn’t fall either.”
Holly Springs coach Richard Young was measured in his emotions, despite the lopsided loss.
“This was our worst performance of the season and it’s disappointing,” Young said. “But we still have three more games to play. We still have to go on the road at Green Hope and that won’t be easy.”