MIDLOTHIAN — The Panthers won on and off of the basketball court Friday.
Before handily defeating North Dallas 76-45 behind another 20-point Kaden Archie performance, Midlothian received word that DeSoto transfer, Swahn Gibson, is cleared to play for the remainder of the season. Gibson, a 6-foot point guard, was a sophomore on the varsity squad when the Eagles won the 6A state championship in 2016
Midlothian head basketball coach Steven Middleton said Gibson being ruled eligible was "the best news of the night."
"We’re really excited about that. [Gibson] is a good player. Playing at guard, he is really going to help us," Middleton said. "He was ruled eligible just today and that is going to be a real blessing to us. He will really help us as we move forward. We are really excited about him. That is a good Christmas gift to us. And getting Evan [Marshall] back Monday, so we will have two more kids playing Monday.”
On the court, Midlothian jumped out to a 47-11 halftime lead before cruising into the 21-point win. Though they played well in spurts, Middleton said after the game that he felt like the Panthers "didn't play a really complete game."
"We slept waked at some points and then we woke up at times and played hard. I’m still looking for that consistency of course," he explained. Middleton also noted the absence of Marshall, the Panthers' starting center who is out with the flu, was a contributing factor.
Archie led the way with 23 points, while Caleb Jordan added 19. Zeke' Bennett continued his strong play with 13 points and Nyk Madison chipped in 12 points. Omari Bobbitt had five points. Jon McDonald and Moses Moore both finished with two points, each.
The Panthers, who are still ranked No. 16 in the TABC 5A poll, improved to 10-3 on the season and return to action Monday, Dec. 11 at home against Irving Nimitz. Tipoff is at 8 p.m.
"We are nowhere near, in my opinion, the team we going to be hopefully at the end of January," Middleton said. "We are not playing anywhere near our best basketball. I thought we played some really good basketball early against South Garland and Denton Guyer. But, we have to get more consistent in my opinion. We have a lot of room to grow and that is exciting. We got to make it happen.”
Mike Sackett contributed to this report.
Travis M. Smith, @Travis5mith