BEVERLY —The Middlesboro Yellow Jackets brought a little bit of showtime to Cardinal Country.
The Jackets blew open a competitive game in the third quarter and outscored Oneida Baptist 57-15 in the second half as they rolled to a 94-44 win in the quarterfinals of the 13th Region All “A” Classic at Red Bird.
The Mountaineers were very competitive early on and got 13 points in the first quarter from sophomore center D.K. Kiawu as they trailed just 21-19 after one.
“OBI came out and played hard in the first half and made it a good ball game. We got their big in foul trouble, which really helped us,” MHS coach Russell Thompson said.
A 3-pointer from Donnie Foister put Middlesboro up 33-25 at the 3:40 mark of the second period, but OBI’s Brandon Henri came in off the bench to score six points in the quarter and a putback from Alex Quarshie brought Oneida within 33-29 with 1:39 left in the half.
The Jackets got a short jumper from Derek Smith and Michael Wilson followed it up with a steal and layup just before the buzzer as MHS took a 37-29 lead into the break.
Wilson’s play was harbinger of things to come as the Jackets forced 11 turnovers in the third quarter to turn the game into a laugher.
OBI’s John Waithaka hit a pair of free throws with 2:27 left in the period to get the Mountaineers as close as 51-38, but the Jackets reeled off five consecutive steals and closed the quarter on an 13-0 run to put the game away.
After two free throws from Poindexter, Blake Davis came away with a steal and got the ball ahead to Foister who found Poindexter for a layup. Poindexter then stole a ball in the backcourt and took it in for a break-away dunk. Another steal led to a Davis basket. Davis ran down a deflected pass and left a lob in front of the rim for Poindexter to throw down. A free throw by Wilson followed by a Foister steal and layup made it 64-38 after three quarters.
“We ended the third quarter with a massive run. Our guys were playing with a lot of intensity defensively and that created easy shots for us offensively,” Thompson said. “That’s fun and that’s the way to play. I’m proud of my guys for stepping it up there and extending the lead so everyone could play tonight. And everybody contributed so I’m proud of their effort.”
A Poindexter jumper pushed the lead to 70-40 with 7:00 left and the Jackets continued to pull away even after going deep into their bench. Major Edwards scored six points in the fourth quarter, Seth Barton added four and Middlesboro went on to the 50-point win.
Thompson was apologetic that the final margin got so big, but OBI continued to take quick shots and the Jackets continued to beat them back down court.
“I wasn’t trying to run the score up at all, but I wanted my younger guys to keep playing,” he said.
Poindexter led Middlesboro with 22 points and 14 rebounds. Zack Riddle added 13 points and 12 rebounds, Wilson also scored 13 points to go along with 10 assists while Foister also finished with 13 points.
“Michael really picked up his scoring for us which is what we’ve been looking for. Austin and Zack both had double-doubles and Donnie shot a good percentage,” Thompson added.
Kiawu led Oneida Baptist (0-6) with 15 points. The Mountaineers host Lynn Camp on Saturday.
Middlesboro (10-7) advances to the semifinals where they’ll take oneither Barbourville or Lynn Camp at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday.
“I feel like our practices have been great and we’ve done everything we can to be successful in this tournament. We’ve got some good teams still to face and we’ll have to come prepared,” he said. “My guys know what’s at stake here and they know the opportunity that’s in front of them. For our five seniors, it’s an opportunity their not going to have again so we need to take advantage of it right now.”
— — —
Oneida Baptist…19…10…..9…..6 — 44
Middlesboro…….21…16…27…30 — 94
ONEIDA BAPTIST (44): D.K. Kiawu 15, John Waithaka 6, Brandon Henri 6, Samuel Elendu 5, Kaylob Harrell 4, Alex Quarshie 4, Jordan Wisdom 2, Samuel Nfor 2, Bryson Garner 0, Isaac Waslewski 0, Mubarek Bargicho 0, Matthew Telda 0, Donald Chick 0.
MIDDLESBORO (94): Austin Poindexter 22, Zack Riddle 13, Michael Wilson 13, Donnie Foister 13, Derek Smith 8, Boone Bowling 6, Major Edwards 6, Blake Davis 5, Seth Barton 4, Devon Williams 2, Abhishek Singh 2, Matt Mike 0.