After a slow start, and maybe some mental exercises at half-time to relearn how to make foul shots, the host Red Raiders came out at half-time up 23-21, playing it to a 33-30 lead by the end of the third quarter. In the fourth quarter things started slowly going Pal-Mac’s way with the home team opening up a 10-point lead that they stretched into a 52-39 final score win.

The 5th-seeded Midlakes Screaming Eagles boys basketball team traveled to Palmyra Saturday night to take on the 3rd-seeded Pal-Mac Red Raiders in a Class B-1 quarterfinal game.


After a slow start, and maybe some mental exercises at half-time to relearn how to make foul shots, the host Red Raiders came out at half-time up 23-21, playing it to a 33-30 lead by the end of the third quarter. In the fourth quarter things started slowly going Pal-Mac’s way with the home team opening up a 10-point lead that they stretched into a 52-39 final score win. 


“Defense pretty much did it all for us tonight,” said Pal-Mac senior Sean Nolan after the game. “Holding a team to under 40 points means they don’t score double-digits in all four quarters, and that’s huge. We had huge defense played by Derek (Wager) and Cody (Argus) on their two best players. They didn’t really get a lot of good looks offensively and that was one of their strong points.” 


Pal-Mac’s Coleston Scheik led all scorers with 15 points. Teammates Nolan, with 12, and both Mitchell Crist and Cody Argus, chipping in eight each, also contributed. Ricardo Thomas and Tyler Fisher led Midlakes, who ends their season with a 7-12 record, with nine points each.


In the first half the visiting Eagles controlled most of the play, leading by two or three points over much of the duration of the early half. The host Red Raiders, while missing the majority of their foul shots early, started clicking late in the half, not only at the free-throw line but also from behind the 3-point line, where Scheik and Crist each hit two 3’s in the half’s waning.


The Eagles strong early game came from solid team play, with six of their players scoring in the first half. However, their offense slowly disappeared as the Raider defense knuckled down.


“We are ready for this,” claimed P-M’s Argus, one of the games major defensive stars. “We have battled through a lot of adversity this season but coach has kept us in line and we keep battling.  Game after game, no matter win or lose, we just keep battling back. It’s sectional time now and everybody is cracking down. It’s win or go home time and we are starting to play with the mentality that we can keep on winning and make it to the championship game against whoever is there to meet us.” 


Pal-Mac coach Dan Harris new where his teams strengths lied and he used them to his teams advantage.


“Our nemesis all year, because we are smaller than a lot of teams, has been defense and rebounding,” Harris offered. Our defense is solid but unfortunately we don’t hold teams to just one shot. So in the second half, knowing that our offense was breaking down a little bit, we made some tweaks to what we do offensively. I knew that if played better defense and held them to one shot we could really take advantage.”


So now it’s on to the Class B-1 semifinals Wednesday where the Red Raiders, carrying a 12-8 record, will face NENW College Prep. We asked Nolan about that upcoming game.  


“We will be working on our defense getting ready for them,” he replied with a wide grin. “They might be a quicker team but we can get it done by playing fundamentally sound basketball.”


Harris liked what he saw in the second half from his team and he feels that if they play like they did in that second half, things could turn put pretty good.


“We really feel collectively as a group that we can get it done,” he pointed out. “Yes, we need to play better against very athletic teams. If we play Wednesday night the way we played the second half tonight we could be going to the finals. Anything can happen. 


I’ve got great group of guys. These guys have been with me throughout this very long season. To stay focused for four months is tough. They have bought in to this team concept. The fact that we really are ‘this’ close. To be able to go to the sectional finals. If we can get to the finals we will be happy.”