CORSICANA — For the first time this season, the ball bounced the Corsicana Tigers way in District 15-4A play.
Once winless in district, the Tigers picked up their first victory over the first-place Midlothian Panthers, 75-55, Tuesday at the Tigers’ Den.
Tigers coach Andy Dotson had taken some bad beats earlier in the season.
Six of his team’s eight district losses came by eight points or less.
After the game, he — along with his players — were wearing smiles.
“We’ve been in situations where a ball bounces here or a call there and you can’t get it to go your way,” Dotson said. “When that happens, you struggle to get wins, and we have, but finally, one bounced our way.”
Tigers senior guard Darnelle Reese started things off with a steal that he drove the length of the court, but Midlothian followed with six unanswered points to cap off a 9-2 run led by junior Caleb Russell with seven points.
Midlothian led, 13-5, before the Tigers’ Eugene White knocked down a three-pointer to cut the Panthers lead to five. Russell finished the quarter with 10 points.
The Tigers (6-14, 1-8) tied the game within the quarter’s first two minutes, as Corsicana turned Midlothian (15-8, 6-3) turnovers into scoring opportunities.
Reese took the lead back on a three-point play as he was fouled while laying the ball in. Tigers junior Nea Williams added a three-pointer and teammate Matt Ward added eight points underneath the basket to instigate a 20-4 run midway through the second quarter.
Panthers junior post Brett Land kept Midlothian from being buried in a double-digit deficit going into the second half with six points in the second quarter.
Land finished with 20 points followed by Russell’s 14.
Midlothian coach Glenn Hartson said the Tigers started hitting some shots and it was tough to rebound from.
“They hit some shots. I’d like to know their shooting percentage,” Hartson said. “They didn’t miss. They’ve had runs where they do that to people, but they let people back.”
The Tigers allowed the Panthers to get back within five early in the third quarter, but that’s as close as the Panthers came.
Panthers guard Nick Stanford drilled a 24-footer but White retaliated with two more three-pointers to lead, 49-38 midway through the third quarter.
Corsicana pushed their lead to 15 by the quarter’s end.
Midlothian came out applying pressure to the Tiger guards, but the ballhandlers worked around the pressure to create opportunities and build on their lead.
Corsicana’s hot shooting carried over to the free-throw line, as it finished 11-of-14. Midlothian had similar success from the line going 10-of-12. Reese led all scorers with 22 points, while every Tiger made at least one field goal.
“That’s what we should have put on the floor every game,” Dotson said. “I told them this after we lost our eighth one that I believe in the bottom of my heart and will until the day I die that I thought we had the most talented team in the league.
“It’s just a matter of putting it on the court for four quarters.”
Corsicana 75, Midlothian 55
Midlothian 14 10 16 15 - 55
Corsicana 10 22 23 20 - 75
Midlothian (15-8, 6-3) — Jared Gullett 2, Riley Plante 4, Nick Stanford 3, Derek Bryant 5, Jeremy Charles 5, Brett Land 20, Garrett Smith 2, Caleb Russell 14.
Corsicana (6-14, 1-8) — Reggie Glover 3, Nea Williams 5, Chris Meankins 3, Otis Jackson 9, Eugene White 11, Jamar Barnett 2, Darnelle Reese 22, Omarius Hines 10, Jarrad McAdams 2, Matt Ward 8.