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Midway cruises past Tellico Plains in tourney opener, 61-42

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By Brownie Rose

After two tight, tense games during the regular season, it was really unexpected when the Midway Green Wave routed Tellico Plains. 61-42. in the first round of the District 3-A Tournament at Midway. 

Midway won at home in the regular season by two points while dropping a one point decision at Tellico Plains.

With Friday’s victory, the Green Wave advanced to Monday’s semifinals and a match-up with regular season district champion, Grace Christian Academy.

Coach Darrell Ruffner’s apparent plan early in the game was to go inside to 6'6” center Jacob Cawood. Cawood delivered with five first quarter points, but more important than that, Cawood’s play opened up the perimeter. The Green Wave sharpshooters took advantage, hitting nine three-pointers, four of which came in the second quarter to get the runaway started.

Even with Cawood pumping in five points, Midway would trail 11-10 at the end of one. Clay Clower hit the first trey for Midway in the opening quarter. Caleb Ruffner scored the only other Midway hoop in the first period.

Tyler Peeler hit two three-pointers in the opening quarter to give the Bears the one point lead.

Clower scored three points early in the second quarter, but the Green Wave caught fire when Christian Moore ripped back-to-back treys give them their first lead at 18-15. After Moore's outbreak, Cawood and Clower stepped outside to nail three-pointers. Ruffner scored another basket and Clower added a late free throw to put Midway up 28-23 at halftime.

Austyn Balcom sank two more treys for Tellico in the second to keep the Bears within striking distance.

Midway’s lead grew to as much as 19 in the third period before Tellico Plains cut it back somewhat late in the quarter. It was Ruffner's turn to shot the three ball and he delivered with a pair in the third to pace six Midway scorers. Cawood was next in line with four points while Clower, Moore, Adam Houser and Logan Davidson also scored in the frame to put Midway up 47-32 heading into the fourth quarter. 

Robert Vandervort led a small Tellico Plains rally with a trey, basket, and two free throws in the final period, but Midway held the lead and added on to it with free throws.

Clower hammered home his third trey of the game and scored four points for Midway in the final period.

Clower (16 points), Cawood (12 points), Ruffner (11 points) and Moore (10 points) all scored in double figures for Midway on the night.

 Midway (61) Clower 16, Cawood 12, Ruffner 11, Moore 10, Davidson 5, Houser 4, Lyle 3.