ARLINGTON — Midlothian captured fifth place on Saturday, beating both Northside and Arlington High Schools on Saturday during the final day of the Arlington Classic Tournament at AHS Gymnasium.
For Steve Middleton, the head basketball coach at Midlothian High School was a far cry from the previous night's ending.
"We've hidden some our weaknesses until game eight and nine. That's the thing about basketball," he said after losing to Arlington Bowie High School by 13 points. "You have to figure out how to cover some of those things back up. We had good shot [opportunities] for some of our role players, but we have to make those shots. We had airballs and balls going over the rim even though we had some good looks."
After receiving only a combined nine points from the 12 players not named Kaden Archie and Caleb Jordan against Arlington Bowie, the (9-2) Panthers bench added 10 against Northside and 22 against Arlington and helped build momentum with a three-game win streak. Midlothian defeated Fort Smith Northside 46-43 despite trailing by eight points at halftime and beat Arlington 60-54.
Throughout the tournament, the production of Archie (20.6 ppg), Jordan (10.3 ppg) and Vince Lee (6.6 ppg) helped Midlothian surge in the Consolidation Bracket. Against Fort Smith Northside Archie scored 21 points and Lee added 10 and during their final game against Arlington, Archie scored his second 21-point game of the Classic, Jordan added 16 points and Lee scored seven.
Bray Olmstead finished with 9 points against Arlington.
"During the Bowie game, our three seniors, Ja'Michael Howard, Bray Olmstead and Tyler Tobey didn't have a good night and didn't score," Middleton said. "Though there is still room for improvement, they played much better during Saturday's games. That game [against Arlington Bowie] gave us some humility. Sometimes getting punched in the face forces you to learn some lessons about yourself quickly. A lot came at this team really quickly. Basketball's a tough sport if you're not humbled by it."
The Panthers rose from No. 25 to No. 24, leapfrogging El Paso Andress High School in the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches 5A boys basketball rankings. The Panthers are scheduled to face Killeen Shoemaker High School (3-2) on Tuesday at MHS Arena.
Until the Wolves' 51-48 loss to Cedar Hill High School on Dec. 2, Killeen Shoemaker had won three straight games and scored at least 71 points in each.
"I think it breathed life into some of the kids that needed it and touched some of the players we need to perform to do well," Middleton added about his team's mindset toward preparing for a tough district schedule. "I think confidence is our biggest enemy. I think we have some kids that thought starting 7-1 was the best thing that ever happened to them basketball-wise. Success is the hardest thing to deal with — how to treat it, what to do with it and how to act after it. It's all about humility. She's the mother of all [success]."