MIDLOTHIAN — Three days after claiming a consolation championship in Arlington, the Midlothian Panther basketball team continued its winning ways Tuesday at home against Poly Tech.
The Panthers jumped out to a 34-11 halftime lead and cruised home to a 66-40 win to improve to 9-3 on the season. Midlothian entered the week as the 16th-ranked team in the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches 5A poll.
Midlothian head boys basketball coach Steve Middleton said the fast start to the season has "been fun."
"We have been off to a quick start, but we have played a couple of bad games this year," Middleton admitted. "[...] I have been really proud of the guys and the way they have reacted to those."
The Panthers did not miss a beat Tuesday with Evan Marshall out with an illness. Kaden Archie poured in a game-high 24 points, while Omari Bobbitt scored 21, Caleb Jordan netted nine and newcomer Zeke' Bennett had six.
"They are coming together good," said Middleton of the Panthers beginning to gel on both sides of the ball. "Bennett is a new kid this year, he transferred in, and he has fit in really, really well. He has elevated our program, so we are blessed to have him. Archie is still the leader. Marshall and Caleb Jordan are really playing good basketball right now, too."
Over the weekend, Midlothian knocked off Fort Smith Northside 67-58 in the consolation championship of the Arlington Classic.
Jordan scored a team-high 20 points in the win, while Archie came just shy of a triple-double with 11 points, nine boards, seven assists and four steals. Marshall and Bennett each added 13 points.
ROAD TO THE 'SHIP
The Panthers opened tournament play with a 65-56 loss to Fort Worth Trimble Tech, despite a 22-point performance by Jordan. They returned to action Friday to defeat host Arlington High 57-42. Archie scored 21 points in the win. Marshall and Jordan added 14 and 13 points, respectively.
Midlothian then defeated Shadow Creek (66-58) behind 21 and 18-point performances by Archie and Jordan to punch their ticket to the consolation championship game.
"We just need to keep playing as a group and keep getting better," said Middleton after Tuesday's win. "The sky's the limit for them. We just have to stay together as a group and playing together as a group and we can do some really, really special things."
Midlothian will host North Dallas at home Friday, Dec. 8 at 8 p.m.