LANGLEY, S.C. - Midland Valley took two basketball contests against Silver Bluff on Friday night in thrilling fashion.
Behind Candy Maxwell's 19 points and Tabatha McGee's 18, the Lady Mustangs fended off the Lady Bulldogs 54-51. In the boys game, Corey Wade shook off a quiet first half to score 16 of his game-high 28 points in the fourth quarter to lead the Mustangs to a 66-61 victory.
Silver Bluff swept the first meeting between the two schools. The rematch will be Monday, when both teams face off in the first round of the Thoroughbred Classic at South Aiken.
In the girls contest, Maxwell scored nine points in a 12-0 Midland Valley (1-4) run during the second quarter to help her squad take a 29-23 lead into the half. Silver Bluff (2-4) crawled back into contention, cutting the lead to one on back-to-back baskets by Nikema Patterson.
Maxwell hit two jumpers, and the Lady Mustangs went on a 10-0 run to make the score 51-40. Silver Bluff answered with a 10-2 run, cutting the lead to 52-51 after Tabitha Gates' free throw. But with nine seconds left, Maxwell sunk two free throws to give the Lady Mustangs their first win of the year.
"It was heart, confidence and teamwork," said Midland Valley coach Marcia Nash. "If it wasn't Candy (Maxwell), it was Tabatha (McGee). And if it wasn't them, it was Jessica (Key). This is preparing us for a strong run in the region, I hope. I always knew we had it in us; we just finally brought it together."
In the boys game, Silver Bluff (6-2) led most of the way, opening with a 9-1 run to take a 15-7 advantage after one quarter. Ernest Doe scored seven points in the period, but he got into foul trouble late in the second quarter and finished with only nine points.
With the Bulldogs getting a strong performance from Marcus Lawrence, playing in his first game after competing in the North-South All Star football game, the Mustangs couldn't close the gap. Lawrence, who finished with 15 points, netted two layups to give Silver Bluff a 50-40 lead with five minutes left in the game.
It was all Midland Valley (2-4) after that. Wade, who leads the area in scoring at 24 points per game, had been quiet through three quarters. But in the fourth quarter, the senior proved unstoppable. His two 3-pointers cut the lead to 50-48, and his third 3-pointer of the period at 3:36 gave the Mustangs their first lead of the game.
The Mustangs ended a 26-3 run after Wade netted two off-balance jumpers with 2:37 left in the game.
"Corey is a scorer," Midland Valley coach Mark Wright said. "He's able to do a lot of things with the ball that many people can't. He's going to be big for us this season."
Reach Patrick Green at (803) 648-1395.