The final District 10-5A playoff spot was up for grabs Friday night in Red Oak and the Midlothian Panthers edged the Hawks to claim it.

Midlothian took a 26-18 lead into the halftime locker room and matched the Hawks in the second half for the 47-40 win.

The victory, combined with a Mansfield Lake Ridge loss to No. 3 Mansfield Timberview, solidified the Panthers' postseason dreams. It is the second-straight year for the Panthers to represent District 10-5A in the playoffs.

"We didn't shoot the ball extremely well, but we played well enough down to win and made plays down the stretch," Midlothian head boys' basketball coach Steven Middleton said. "They (Red Oak) were scrappy and they got after our tail tonight to keep the game close. It was a dogfight."

The Panthers were led by Caleb Jordan's 15 points and Kaden Archie's game-high 17. Middleton also applauded the efforts of Swahn Gibson and Nyk Madison. The two combined for seven points but both supplied much-needed sparks.

"I thought Swahn Gibson played one of his better games tonight," Middleton said. "I thought he showed up and really played hard and tough for us. If he can do that some more then the sky is the limit for us. I thought Nyk Madison played really well, too."

Emerson Wallace led the Hawks with 15 points, while Josh Miller had seven, and Mark Freeney-Rogers and Joshua Sasser each scored six. Keymond Taylor and Andrew Yuhanna both scored two points, and Howard Turner added one.

"Emerson Wallace played his heart out and defensively gave us a spark," Red Oak head boys' basketball coach Jason Sasser said. "Mark Freeney-Rogers came off of the bench and gave us a little spark offensively, but overall we just didn't hit the shots that we normally hit."

Sasser added, "We came out and played hard. Defensively we did OK, but we couldn't hit nothing. We had four points in the third quarter, We couldn't hit nothing. They came out and made the big shots when they needed to."


Midlothian closes out the regular season at home for senior night Tuesday, Feb. 13, while Red Oak travels to Mansfield for a season-finale against Legacy.

For Middleton and the Panthers, Tuesday night will be a bit emotional.

"Our next game is senior night, which is going to be really special," Middleton said. "This is the group that I came in with. Kaden, Caleb, and Evan are all 1,000-point scorers for me and have won almost 70 games now in their careers and have really established a culture of winning for Midlothian basketball. Losing those kids is going to be pretty emotional for me, to be honest with you. They have done a lot for Midlothian basketball, and I couldn't be prouder of them as young men."

Tipoff for both games is at 8 p.m.


Fred Phipps/Daily Light contributed to this report.