Middletown High School’s boys basketball team dominated when it mattered the most Saturday night.
Vincent Edwards had 28 points and 20 rebounds as the Middies battled visiting Springboro to a 41-41 deadlock through regulation, then controlled overtime to record a 61-50 nonconference victory at Wade E. Miller Gym.
“That’s the type of effort I’ve been looking for down the stretch from my basketball team,” Middletown coach Mark Baker said. “We needed to win one of these type of games. We made plays when we needed to.”
The Panthers’ Jordan Rigg sank a layup with 2.5 seconds on the clock to force OT. He drove baseline and beat Kyle Shouse on the play.
Shouse then buried a 3-pointer in the first 12 seconds of the extra stanza, igniting a 10-point run by the Middies (4-2).
“I was kind of disappointed in myself because he never should’ve gone baseline. We should’ve won in regulation,” Shouse said. “After that, I just had it in my head that the first time I touched the ball, I was bringing us back. I had to do it, and it felt good.”
Shouse tallied 11 points and made a trio of 3-pointers for Middletown. Justin Anderson marked five of his six points in OT and snagged four boards.
Springboro (2-4) was 9 of 16 behind the arc, getting six treys and 18 points from Jake Varinsky. Nick Cross also had 17 points and seven rebounds for the visitors.
“I couldn’t be any more proud of my team from an effort standpoint,” Panthers coach Mike Holweger said. “If we give that type of effort, we’re going to be absolutely fine. That’s why we play these games, to make us better. And this is a very special place.”
The Panthers led 19-8 early in the second quarter, yet struggled with the Middies’ pressure at times. Springboro was also just 3 of 11 at the charity stripe.
Holweger praised the dynamic play of Edwards — “He’s a pleasure to watch and very difficult to prepare for,” the SHS coach said — while also crediting guys like Shouse and Anderson for stepping up at crunch time.
“When we look back at this game, I think we’ll see guys that gave everything they had,” Holweger said. “There were a number of guys that weren’t afraid to step up and make a play.”
Edwards sank 11 of 12 free throws (7 of 8 in OT), boosting the hosts’ 21-of-31 overall effort at the line. Baker also praised the play of sophomore Vince Calhoun (five points) off the bench.
Middletown will participate in the Newark Holiday Tournament on Friday, opening against Hughes at 6 p.m. The Panthers host Valley View next Saturday.
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