MIDDLEBURG - Opportunity didn't have time to knock for Midd-West on Wednesday.
Before it got to the door, Selinsgrove decided to roll out the red carpet, giving the Mustangs more than enough opportunity in their Heartland Conference boys basketball game.
Unfortunately for the Mustangs, they gave it right back. Midd-West failed to convert at the line when the Seals picked up a foul and a technical in the third and saw a slim lead evaporate into a Selinsgrove victory, 59-53.
Overall, the Mustangs went a paltry 9-of-25 from the charity stripe, including missing again when Selinsgrove's coach was shown the T later in the contest. Selinsgrove spent a brief period in the second half out of sorts, undisciplined enough to get those calls - but Midd-West simply couldn't find the hole when presented with all those chances.
"That kills us. We play well ... and then just miss foul shots," Midd-West coach Brent Bobb lamented. "We should be hitting them 60, 70 percent."
It was a busy game coming out of the locker room. Selinsgrove's four-point lead at the half was slowly erased, with Ascher Marks hitting a two and a three to make it a tie game at 29. Colton Keister went to the net for two and a lead, which held up through most of the frame.
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Midd-West hosts Shamokin on Saturday
Keister hit a pair of free throws to make the lead four before the Seals' Dillon Hoke - who led the scoring for the night with 19 - and Isaiah Rapp each hit a bucket to make it all even again at 33. A Keister trey kept the Mustangs in it against Selinsgrove's success at the stripe, and he made a pair of free throws to get it to 39-35 in favor of the home team.
Keister had the high score for Midd-West with 16; Marks chipped in 13.
Another bucket after the slew of misses from the line gave Midd-West its biggest lead of the night, 41-35, before Selinsgrove started to regain its composure and get back in the game. Rapp and Hoke brought the Seals back within a bucket when the final stanza opened.
The last lead Midd-West saw was a 43-41 advantage in the fourth; Rapp and Hoke both struck from behind the arc after the second technical to start rebuilding their team's advantage.
"Missing the technical shots, then they're like, 'Whew, we got away with that one,'" Bobb said. "Then they hit the two threes."
The Seals were up by as many as 10 late in the game. Midd-West got a late three from Marks that had his team down by four, but there wasn't enough time to get the points.
Early in the game, Midd-West hurt itself with turnovers, fumbling at times against Selinsgrove's speed and full-court press. The Mustangs also saw an early chance to make a statement go awry when a drive in the paint that would have been a basket and possibly an old-fashioned three-point play instead turned into a giveaway on a charging call.
Despite the mistakes, Bobb said he couldn't be too unhappy after the first meeting between these two.
"They mercy ruled us down there," he explained, noting his team was down 50-14 at the half. "They actually played a game tonight. They played hard."
The Mustangs also have been beset with injuries, and had only seven players in the game.
"We had two more guys go out tonight," Bobb said. "We were about ready to play the managers."
Selinsgrove won the JV game 70-51; Midd-West got 13 points from Zach Schrader and 10 from Jerry Plummer.
Midd-West (3-16) hosts Shamokin Saturday.