The Belton boys’ basketball team opted to try to slow down their District 12-6A matchup with Midway rather than run with the Panthers.

It didn’t work.

Midway filled up the basket early and often as it cruised to a 67-47 victory over the Tigers on Friday afternoon at the Midway High School arena.

“I told the guys at halftime, ‘If you go up 25, they can’t stall on you, they’ve got to come out and play you to try and give themselves a chance,’” Midway coach Matt Brown said.

Belton went into a four-corners offense from its first possession. Guard Kayden Downs got into the lane for a jumper on the Tigers’ first possession, making it seem like the Tigers’ strategy might work.

However, Panthers forwards Godsgift Ezedinma and Diego Gonzalez each hit 3-pointers and Gonzalez nailed an inside bucket on an assist from Anthony Scott. That surge put Midway in front 10-4 and indicated Belton was going to struggle to keep the scoring low enough to upset the Panthers.

Midway guard Michael Jefferson hit a 3-pointer and put back a rebound to ignite a 17-5 run in the second quarter that put the Panthers in front, 33-19.

Jefferson produced a double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds despite sitting out most of the fourth quarter. Ezedinma scored 17 points to lead Midway (17-8, 5-1 in 12-6A).

Ezedinma hit a pair of 3-pointers early in the third quarter as Midway began to run away from Belton.

Guard Jordan Byers added a basket from beyond the arc that gave the Panthers a 20-point lead and the Tigers never clawed back within 18.

Ultimately, Belton couldn’t apply enough pressure on the defensive end to break the Panthers’ rhythm.

“We took care of the ball a lot better,” Brown said. “We haven’t done it great all year, but today we did. We only had seven turnovers. Our goal for our game is 12, so we definitely hit our goal.”

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