"Fourteen turnovers, 15 points, and we're only down two at halftime," said Middletown coach Tim Leber. "That's probably the only positive that came out of the first half for us."
But for coach Bob Starkey and the Rebels, the first half had more positives than negatives.
"I thought for a half, we played amazing defense," Starkey said. "We weren't amazing on offense, but when you hold a team of that caliber to 15 points in the first half, you're doing something right."
South played a 2-3 zone from the outset, with Starkey using his trio of big men (Jake Windle, Antoine Becks and Shane Carbaugh) under the basket. Middletown (7-3, 6-0) found it difficult to get a shot off inside, and nearly impossible to send a pass through the middle.
"That's not an ordinary high school 2-3 zone that they play," Leber said. "They've got quick guards out front. Then you've got a 6-11 guy (Becks) in the middle with that wingspan and that automatically shrinks the passing lanes. They played great defense the entire game, but it really bottled us up in the first half."
Middletown scored the first eight points of the second half to grab a 23-17 advantage, but Frankie Linton scored five points in a 7-0 South run that returned the lead to the Rebels. After the teams traded baskets, Middletown put together a 19-5 streak that all but ended the game.
Mike Main led the Knights with 12 points and five assists. Trevor Hillier grabbed 15 rebounds and Matt Main had six steals.
Becks and Scott DeVore each had eight points for South, and Becks had seven rebounds and six blocked shots.