Mustangs knocked off in playoff opener
HILTON HEAD 60, MIDLAND VALLEY 50
By ERIC RUSSELL
firstname.lastname@example.orgGRANITEVILLE — Despite Midland Valley’s (17-10) slow start, Tuesday night’s playoff game between the Mustangs and Hilton Head (14-11) was all tied at 38-all heading into the final quarter. The Seahawks scored 22 points in the fourth quarter to come away with the 60-50 upset of the second-seeded Mustangs.
Hilton Head jumped out to a quick 10-2 lead in the opening minutes of the game behind a strong first quarter from Aaron Frazier. The Seahawks’ leading scorer posted 11 points in the opening quarter. Midland Valley was able to narrow the gap to four points by halftime, heading into the locker room trailing 30-26.
“Honestly, I told them we were playing (terrible),” Midland Valley head coach Mark Snelgrove said of his halftime speech to the team.
The Mustangs responded by holding Hilton Head to eight points in the third quarter. The ramped up defense proved to be a spark for the team. A 3-pointer by Jaquan Hall with 3:48 remaining in the third quarter gave the Mustangs their first lead of the game before Hilton Head was able to draw even at the end of the quarter.
The momentum shifted again, as the Mustangs reverted back to the bad habits of the first half at the start of the fourth quarter. Frazier got several easy baskets for the Seahawks, which proved to be the Mustangs’ undoing.
“We had opportunities, we had a little spurt there but the biggest thing is we were playing pretty well on defense and we started to come up on balls we had no business pressuring on,” Snelgrove said. “That’s when they started to pull away, we started letting them get easy layups.”
Frazier led all scorers with 19 points. A total of three players scored in double figures for the Seahawks, as Michael Julian finished with 14 and Jacob Coltrane added 13.
As for the Mustangs’ defensive ineffectiveness, Snelgrove was left perplexed.
“We made a lot of elementary mistakes tonight, simple inbound plays we’ve seen all year and we couldn’t seem to defend them,” he said.
Also adding to the challenge for Midland Valley was Hilton Head’s perimeter play. The Seahawks made five 3-pointers in the first half, forcing Snelgrove to abandon his team’ usual zone defense because of the inability to challenge shots.
“Jaquan (Hall) and Latrell (Lee) are the keys to our defense, they’re really effective in that zone. Having to switch to man-to-man kind of hurts them,” Snelgrove said.
Hall and Kameron Brown led the Mustangs in scoring with 14 points each.
Hilton Head will now face Hartsville in the second round of the playoffs Friday night.HH 17 13 8 22 – 60
MV 13 13 12 12 – 50Hilton Head (14-11)—Jacob Coltrare 5 1-1 13, Troy Clifford 3 0-0 6, Aaron Frazier 7 3-3 19, Chris MacMurray 1 2-2 4, Michael Julian 5 3-5 14, James Sanders 2 0-0 4.
Midland Valley (17-10)—Daniel Carr 3 2-2 9, Jaquan Hall 6 0-2 14, Latrell Lee 1 0-0 3, Jayson James 2 0-0 4, Kameron Brown 6 2-2 14, Djuan Green 1 0-0 2, Javoddis Coach 1 2-2 4.