“Once we had a lead, we got them (Shongaloo) chasing us,” said Rebels coach Todd Briley. “It gave us a chance to spread the ball around the court; and we got a few easy layups.
The number 29–seeded Shongaloo Tigers played nothing like a 29 seed. The Tigers came out of the gate roaring. But the quick start and the pressure packed first half would not be enough to upset Midland as the game’s final buzzer sounded and the number four seed lived on with a 76-48 victory Friday night.
Midland’s 11 day layoff may have attributed to the sluggish start, but Briley says they cannot afford another slow start and rough night in the playoffs.
“We weren’t intense enough tonight, but hopefully we can bounce back,” he said.
The Rebels’ slow start meant a three-point game after one quarter and a nine point game after the first half. It also meant Shongaloo was getting extra chances at points picking up 12 offensive rebounds in the first two quarters.
Midland also found itself in quite a predicament late in the second and early in the third. Six fouls in the second quarter alone saw Midland get in foul trouble and in the third an injury that Allen Fontenot has spent the final stretch of the season battling sent him to the sideline. It was up to Midland’s younger cast to keep the Rebels ahead. Briley hopes to have Fontenot back for Tuesday’s game.
Fortunately for MHS, Shongaloo found itself in a hole that led to miscues, mistakes and fouls, including a double technical foul on Tigers’ JaVonte Thomas late in the fourth.
The Rebels didn’t just luck into the 28 point victory though, as Midland stepped up their play and began putting real estate between itself and its foe.
“Offensively, I thought we did pretty well, especially with Al (Allen) hurt,” said Briley.
Andrew Hains led Midland in scoring with 19 points. Joining him was Alan Vondenstein with 16, Darren Arceneaux with 14, Allen Fontenot with nine, Chase Vincent and Michael Primeaux with eight each and Jake Gautreaux with two.
Shongaloo had three players in double digits on the night, James Sapp with 19 and Thomas and McCaul Lacombee with 10 each.
The Rebels will now focus their attention to Tuesday’s regional playoff round contest against number 13 Mount Hermon, who were also big winners Friday night defeating Simpson 89-33. Midland will host Mt. Hermon.