The newly minted top-ranked team in 5A put its state-ranking on the line Tuesday night in Midlothian and escaped with a win — barely.
The Midlothian Panthers, who entered their second District 10-5A contest ranked No. 11 in the latest TABC 5A poll, had its opportunities late in the fourth quarter and overtime to pull the upset of No. 1 Timberview.
The Panthers led 54-50 with 27.4 seconds to play in the fourth quarter after a successful trip to the free throw line by Caleb Jordan. They then led 63-60 with 1:11 to go in overtime after Kaden Archie scored all eight of the Midlothian points in the frame.
Those missed opportunities, more importantly, a pair of late-game turnovers while holding the lead, left Midlothian head boys' basketball coach Steven Middleton slightly frustrated.
"We gave it away. We did everything that we could to lose the game. It is all on us. Can’t blame it on officials or anybody else but ourselves," he said. "We had two possessions up four. We inbounded the ball and had two turnovers. Free throws — senior leaders they have got to make them if you want to win at that high level. If you want to beat the number one team in the state, you can’t do that down the stretch. The last two possessions, you have the ball in your best players' hands, and it adds up to two turnovers. So we gave the game away."
Middleton added, "The game plan was correct. We did everything we were supposed to do but win. That is highly disappointing. One rebound sealed the deal. Got to give them credit for how tough they were down the stretch. They out-toughed us."
Archie led the Panthers with 24 points. He missed the previous game with an ankle injury.
Evan Marshall scored 16 points, while Caleb Jordan added 11, Zeke' Bennett and Swahn Gibson had five, and Jon McDonald chipped in two points.
Midlothian, now 15-6 on the season and 1-1 in District 10-5A, will travel to No. 2 (15-4, 2-0) Waxahachie for an 8 p.m. Friday tipoff.
Additional reporting by Fred Phipps/Mirror.