MANSFIELD — As Head Coach Steve Middleton planned "must win" games for the remainder of the Panthers' season schedule, names like Lake Ridge, Summit, Red Oak and either Waxahachie or Lancaster were scribbled on the inside of his coaches' notebook.
He can mark one off that list.
Not only did Midlothian get a measure of revenge against Mike Adewunmi and Mansfield Lake Ridge High School during the 58-48 win, it kept its feet firmly in the 10-5A postseason chase.
The (19-9, 5-6) Panthers moved into a two-way tie with Mansfield Lake Ridge and remained one game ahead of Mansfield Summit High School for the fourth and final UIL 5A playoff seed. Doube-digit performance from the "Big 4" and clutch baskets by Tyler Tobey and Ja'Michael Howard also helped Panther fans keep the faith.
Not only did Midlothian hold the high-flying Eagles to six total points in the first quarter, but the team also outscored them in every quarter except the fourth. The Panthers rolled to the victory with the help of the hot hands of Kaden Archie (15 pts), Caleb Jordan (13 pts), Vincent Lee (12 pts) and Evan Marshall (11 pts).
Tobey scored five points and Howard added two.
Adewunmi, who exploded for 29 points during the Eagles' 78-58 win on Jan. 10, scored 19 on Friday. Only Kyron Smith (12 pts) scored in double-figures while the other 13 other players on the roster were held to six or fewer points.
Midlothian, which was scheduled to face Mansfield Summit at 8 p.m. Tuesday at MSHS Gymnasium, was another "must win" for Middleton and his team. A victory on Tuesday and a loss by Mansfield Lake Ridge would put the Panthers in a position to claim the No. 4 playoff seed.
A loss by Lancaster High School could set the stage for Midlothian to delete the defending 5A champion Flyin Tigers from of the playoff picture when they face them in the Dec. 14 district finale.