The Panthers put a grueling weeklong stretch of District 10-5A basketball against two top-ranked teams in the rearview with a hard-fought win Tuesday on the road against Mansfield Lake Ridge.
Midlothian, who entered as the No. 11 team in 5A despite losses to No. 1 Timberview and No. 2 Waxahachie last week, took a slim lead (14-13) in the second quarter but trailed at the half, 30-29.
Behind a team-high 23 points from Kaden Archie, Midlothian outscored the Broncos 34-19 in the second half for a 63-49 win.
"It was a very ugly game and a foul fest, but we needed this victory in the worst way," Midlothian head boys' basketball coach Steven Middleton said. "We lost two consecutive district games, albeit against two really good teams, but it was a much-needed win to get us back even in the district race. It wasn't pretty, and Lake Ridge is a tough, scrappy, hard playing team, and they gave us all we could handle."
Middleton added, "Winning breeds winning, so anytime you can win a ballgame you feel good about yourself moving forward. We hadn't won in a while and last week was a long week after we played against two really good teams and lost both. A win is a win is a win."
Outside of Archie, who was announced as a nominee to the McDonald's All-America Games on Wednesday, Caleb Jordan scored 13 points and Zeke Bennett had 12.
Evan Marshall added eight points and Omari Bobbitt had three. Swahn Gibson and Nyk Madison each contributed two points.
Outside of the stat book, Middleton pointed to the play of Jon McDonald, especially in the second half, as a key to victory Tuesday night.
"I thought his charges in the second half, and his defensive intensity elevated us as a basketball team. He probably doesn't get a lot of notoriety because he doesn't score points but he contributed to a big district win for us tonight."
The win improved the Panthers to 16-7 on the season and 2-2 in District 10-5A.
Midlothian returns home Friday, Jan. 12 to host Mansfield Summit at 8 p.m.
Fred Phipps/Mirror contributed to this report.