Only a handful of football teams are left playing in the N.C. High School Athletic Association football playoffs, and that’s good news and bad news for Middle Creek’s boys basketball team. Four Mustangs basketball players, including three starters.
Good news: Middle Creek boys basketball coach David Kushner’s team will soon have an influx of winning leadership.
Bad news: until then, you’re shorthanded as was the case Wednesday in an 87-69 loss to Garner.
“I’ve never had three starters still on the football field. I like that we compete until the end. I like that we’re taking a charge with less than a minute to go,” Kushner said.
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Garner, the reigning 4A champs, played at a breakneck pace in the second quarter, scoring 30 points to take a 47-29 lead at halftime over the Mustangs (2-3).
“We did some good things and we had some things we need to work on,” Garner coach Eddie Gray said. “The second quarter’s been real good to us. We’ve played well.”
The Trojans (3-1) have only lost to undefeated Cary but have since bounced back well.
“All my friends told me it was a ‘good loss’ but I don’t take losses well,” Gray said. “We talked about the hype and how everybody’s going to give you their best shot. That’s just the nature of it. Once you get the game going I don’t think it matters.”
They said it
“We’ve got three conference games next week, we’ve already pushed a conference game back to January so we’ve got three that week. There’s no time to reschedule,” Kushner said. “I would rather play and get the experience.”
Three who mattered
Demetrius Bastian, Middle Creek: As Kushner put it, he had 26 points and 16 rebounds and “had a bad game.”
Andrew Abrom, Garner: Led all scorers with 20 points and added eight rebounds.
Thomas Allen, Garner: Scored 13 points and had a solid all-around game with four rebounds, four assists and four steals.
By the numbers
7: Number of 3s hit by Middle Creek’s Justin Tankelewicz and Robbie Frongello.
20-plus: Garner forced more than 20 turnovers and also grabbed more than 20 offensive rebounds.
66: The Middle Creek score posted on the scoreboard at the end of the game, though the scorebook indicates Middle Creek actually scored 69.
10: Rebounds by Garner’s Alex Reed.
12: Number of Trojans who scored.
8: Number of Mustangs players on the team until football season ends.