High School Sports

Middle Creek eases past Clayton boys in basketball

With most of its experience out of the lineup due to being members of the Middle Creek football team in the middle of its deep run into the state playoffs, the boys basketball team received enough strong performances to cruise to a 75-57 win over visiting Clayton Tuesday night.

Demetrius Bastian had a career-high 30-point performance for the Mustangs (2-1), while Ryan Tankelewicz and Jack Botkin also went for double-figures in an efficient offensive performance that was in stark contrast to a 26-turnover loss the night before to Fayetteville Seventy-First.

“I thought when we saw a little bit of pressure tonight, we were much more relaxed and we did a good job at taking our time,” said Middle Creek coach David Kushner, “I thought we passed the ball really well.”

Robbie Frongello and Michael Zamojcin each added seven points for Middle Creek and Jordan Johnson chipped in with six points.

In suffering its first loss on the season, Clayton (3-1) fell behind 10-0 to start the game and quickly ran into foul trouble, making it difficult to find a rhythm needed to mount a comeback.

With both of the Comets’ point guards saddled with three fouls before halftime, Clayton was unable to demonstrate the same ball movement that earned them three wins in as many days in the opening week of the season.

“The one thing that I was a little disappointed in tonight was that we’ve been moving the ball really well and tonight everybody tried to do too much themselves and it showed up,” Clayton coach Denny Medlin said. “We didn’t play like a team.”

Turning point

Clayton trimmed what was a 19-point second quarter lead all the way down to nine points early in the third quarter but, as the Comets seemed to be gaining enough momentum to mount a comeback, Bastian scored eight points in less than 90 seconds to extend the lead.

Three who mattered

Demetrius Bastian, Middle Creek: Bastian was a perfect 10 of 10 from the foul line en route to his career high performance. Bastian scored 11 points in the third quarter to quell a potential Clayton comeback.

Tre Armstead, Clayton: The senior guard paced the Comets with 19 points as Clayton attempted to keep pace with the high-scoring Mustangs.

Ryan Tankelewicz, Middle Creek: Tankelewicz ran the point well for the Mustangs as they looked much more patient and able to withstand pressure on the ball than they did the night before. Tankelewicz finished with 14 points.

They said it

“I love this team,” Bastian said. “They play so hard and they’re great shooters so all you’ve got to do is drive and kick out and it’s a bucket every time.”

By the Numbers

22: Number of assists on 26 made baskets for Middle Creek.

12: Points supplied from off the bench by Clayton’s Austin Boyd.

7: Clayton turnovers in the third quarter preventing them from chipping into the lead anymore than they did.

11: Points Jack Botkin finished with fueled by 3 of 6 shooting from three-point range.