Midland tops Northside Christian in season opener

MIDLAND – Many of the names and faces may have changed, but the game plan remains for Class B’s Midland Rebels.

The Rebels, who return just one starter from last year’s state runnerup squad, played classic Midland basketball Tuesday, pressuring Northside Christian from start to finish to claim a 64-46 victory in the 2010 prep basketball opener for both teams.

“I think for our first game with almost a new team, we preformed pretty good,” said Midland coach Todd Briley. “We have a long way to go but I was pleased with the effort tonight and I thought the attitude was good.”

The only negative: the Rebels committed 20 fouls on the night, 13 in the first half.

The Rebels picked up their seventh team foul with 1:30 remaining in the first quarter and put Northside into the double bonus early in the second frame. The Warriors went 10 for 16 from the free throw line in the first 16 minutes of play.

“I wasn’t really happy with our defense because of all the fouls we picked up,” said Briley. “That’s got to improve.”

The Rebels were able to withstand the early foul trouble and took a 30-22 advantage at the break.

Back-to-back baskets to start the third quarter allowed Northside to get within four (30-26) but Midland forced six turnovers in the final five minutes and took a 45-30 advantage into the final stanza.

“The key was our turnovers,” said NCS coach Byron Starks. “We ended up with 32 turnovers on the night. You can’t beat a good team on the road, or at home for that matter, with 32 turnovers.

“We need to eliminate some of those unforced turnovers, protect the ball and execute our offense. I think we’ll be okay. Those are all things we can correct and we’ll get better.”

Midland outscored Northside 19-16 in the final stanza.

Alan Fontenot, Midland’s lone returning starter, paced the Rebels with 25 points.

“Alan had a good game,” said Briley. “He’s working hard and he’s being a good leader out there. Sometimes he tries to do a little too much, but we’re working on that.”

Andrew Hains followed Fontenot with 11 points and Darren Arceaneaux had seven.

Also contributing in the victory were Chase Vincent with six points; Jake Gatreaux, five; Michael Primeaux and Alan Vondenstein, four each and Cody Stutes, two.

Pierce Rivera scored 13 of Northside’s 16 points in the fourth quarter and finished the night with 25. The senior forward also pulled down 13 rebounds.

“It’s no secret, we’re going to go to Pierce,” said Starks. “He’s difficult for anybody to guard because he’s so mobile. He can dribble and shoot from anywhere.”

Josh Wheeler chipped in nine points for the Warriors while Grant Williams had five. Nick Gotte added three points and nine rebounds and Kade Miller and Kaleb Clement each finished with two points.

Midland and Northside will both be in action again tonight.

The Rebels will be participating in the Hathaway Tournament where they will take on defending Class B state champion Rapides this evening at 5 o’clock.

The Warriors will be at home taking on the ESA Falcons at 7 p.m.

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