By Anthony Mitchell
For The Daily Item
MANDATA -- Midd-West coach Aaron Ettinger told his players gathered in the locker room to be patient in the second half.
The Mustangs had closed the Line Mountain lead to one heading into the second half and had started to change the flow of the game.
The Mustangs listened to their coach and disrupted Line Mountain offensively to pull away for a 54-38 non-league win Friday.
"Our defense really cleaned itself up there a lot more," Ettinger said. "We rotated a lot better. We got out in transition. (In) the first half, we were just very impatient."
For much of the first half, Midd-West did not have many second-chance opportunities as the Eagles were able to win the battle for rebounds in close.
However, the Mustangs' speed on defense created transition chances on offense late in the first half, leading to looks at high-percentage shots.
Midd-West scored eight of the last 10 points of the first half after a three-pointer from the right wing by Kellen Masser increased the Line Mountain lead to seven, 24-17. Undeterred, Ascher Marks knocked down a trey for the Mustangs from the same spot at the other end of the floor and the run was on.
Marks started the run for the Mustangs at the end of the first half and he continued the burst as the second half started.
While Marks showed an ability to score from the perimeter early, he continued to make a difference driving inside. Marks had a shot blocked two minutes into the half but stayed with the play, regaining possession and scored off the glass to give the Mustangs their first lead of the game, 27-26.
Marks finished with a game-high 14 points, knocking down a pair of 3-pointers for the Mustangs.