Middletown boys basketball coach Josh Andrews could feel there was a different atmosphere in Wade E. Miller Gymnasium Saturday night than there had been just one night earlier.
After moving into a two-way tie for first in the Greater Miami Conference with a win over Lakota East on Friday night, the Middies entered to a lackluster atmosphere when they squared off with Winton Woods.
“It lacked the emotion,” Andrews said after the Middies fell to 9-7 with the 75-61 loss. “I don’t know if we spent it all last night, but this was the last time we go back-to-back unless we play in the state semis and finals. We are on the GMC schedule now and we have laser focus there.”
Middletown, playing without standout Vincent Edwards, opened the game on a 6-0 run behind four points from Chance Sorrell, but Winton Woods closed with a 15-5 run to take a lead it would never relinquish.
“Vincent has been battling through an injury,” Andrews said. “We just wanted to give him a night’s rest. He needed it.”
The Middies played the Warriors even in the second quarter, entering the break down 33-22, but Winton Woods went on a 13-1 run to open the third quarter, springing to a 51-26 lead en route to opening a 59-33 advantage heading into the final eight minutes.
Jalin Marshall, who had been injured and just returned to action Friday night, found his stroke again, running off nine straight points for the Middies in the fourth quarter as they cut the deficit to 61-46 with 5:30 left. A steal and a lay-up by Marshall with 3:20 left cut the deficit to 67-57, but Middletown never got closer.
“We want to be never too high and never too low,” Andrews said. “But it is hard to come back off the high from last night and play another really good basketball team. I was proud of the resiliency they showed in the fourth quarter and the way they continued to fight.”
Marshall led the Middies with 22 points and hit half his 3-point attempts (4-for-8).
“You started to see it come back for him,” Andrews said of Marshall’s touch. “It is exciting to see him get some confidence down the stretch tonight.”