LAKE WALES, Fla. – Midland University’s men’s basketball was back to full strength and back in in the win column on Thursday afternoon as they wrapped up play in the Holiday Inn Express Classic.
The Warriors (6-9 overall) took down the Rio Grande Red Strom (7-8 overall) 80-56 in the final game in Lake Wales, Florida after struggling against No. 21 Warner with a depleted lineup.
Midland had lost two straight games and six of its last seven entering the Rio Grande game, making this victory an important one as the Warriors take an eight-day break for Christmas to recoup before their next game.
Junior Bryce Parsons and senior Reggie Gradwell each missed the game versus Warner due to illnesses, but returned in the finale to help lift the Warriors past the Red Storm.
Parsons led all scorers in his return to the lineup with 28 points on 10-21 shooting from the field. He completed a double-double with 10 rebounds while also adding 7 assists and a steal. Gradwell added seven points and five rebounds as well as an assist and block.
Freshman Bowen Sandquist concluded a spectacular week with another solid performance, finishing with 17 points on 6-11 shooting from the floor. Sandquist led the team on Tuesday with 26 points.
Rio Grande was led by Cameron Schreiter’s 20 points on 6-15 shooting from the field and 7-8 from the free throw line. Joshua Anthony was the other Red Strom player in double figures, finishing with 14 points while adding five rebounds and four assists.
Midland jumped on the Red Storm out of the gates and never looked back. The Warriors built a 10-point lead in the first 10 minutes of the game and continued to extend that margin for the rest of the first half, finishing the period on an 11-2 run to push the halftime lead to 22.
Rio Grande showed some fight to start the second half, shrinking the Midland lead to 13 points just five minutes into the period, but that was as close as the Warriors let the Red Storm get to the lead.
The Warriors kept their lead around the 15-17 point range for much of the second half, before a 14-2 run gave Midland its largest lead of the game, a 25-point cushion with less than four minutes to play.
Midland dominated from start to finish as the Warriors shot 45.2 percent from the field, much better than the 30.4 percent clip from Rio Grande. The Warriors also dished out seven more assists than did Rio Grande, assisting on 20 of the 28 made baskets in the game.
Freshmen Emanuel Bryson and Rayshon Hovaldt each got their first varsity action as members of the Warriors, combining for four points in the game, all by way of the free throw line.
After playing so many competitive games as of late, getting a decisive victory may help the Warriors regain some confidence as the season rolls on. Winning is winning, and hopefully for Midland, it leads to more success.
The Warriors will partake in the nearby Bellevue Classic on December 28-29 when they face off against Bellevue and Waldorf. Tipoff on December 28 against the Bruins (6-9 overall) is set for 5:00 p.m.