• Graham’s Marc Tate tries to drive towards the basket as Midlothian Heritage’s Jackson McLaughlin defends during the first half Friday night in the area championship game.
  • Graham Steers senior Jaxon Brockway leads a fast break transition down the court as Midlothian Hertitage player Michael Holland gives chase. Leader photos by Evan Grice

Mustangs end Steers’ playoff run in area round thriller

ALEDO - In little more than a minute, Graham’s season came crashing down Friday night. A 12-2 run by Midlothian Heritage to end the first half broke open a 22-22 game. The end result was a 60-55 defeat, ending the Steers’ season in the area round at the Aledo Indoor Stadium.
The turning point of the contest came moments after Graham had built momentum.
Down 21-12 with 4:38 left in the second quarter, the Steers tied the game at 22-22. However, three turnovers hurt the Steers, allowing the Mustangs to cash in, in a big way. Heritage led 34-24 going into the halftime break.
“We didn’t follow our plan as far as breaking the press,” Graham coach Marcus Morris said about the span before halftime. “Our middle, diagonal and sideline guys weren’t there. We threw it too deep and got trapped. I should have probably called a timeout in that instance. It was just a bad stretch by all of us. There was nothing we could do about it.”
Heritage coach Andy Slye said the run before halftime put his players in a much better position than they had been.
“Michael Holland at the top of our press was causing havoc for us,” he said. “We knew Graham was historically good coming out in the third quarter. They have the playmakers and shotmakers to change a game. It was a huge turning point for us. We won the game on the defensive end tonight.”
Before the turning point changed the game, both teams were close to even in the first quarter. Graham’s biggest lead was 6-2 at the 3:59 mark, before Heritage tied the game at 6-6.

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