Morningside’s men’s basketball team had a 14-game winning streak snapped in the GPAC Tournament Championship Game. Photo / Gene Knudsen
Midland’s men’s basketball team appears to be primed for another extended post-season run after it led wire-to-wire in an 89-67 triumph against fifth-ranked Morningside in Tuesday’s GPAC Tournament Championship Game in Sioux City.
The Warriors, ranked 14th in the latest NAIA Division II poll, peaked at the end of the 2013-14 season when they finished as the runner-up at the NAIA II National Tournament.
Midland is riding a six-game winning streak after its win in Tuesday’s GPAC final, and it came against one of the hottest teams in the nation. Morningside had won 20 of its last 21 games and had a 14-game winning streak going into the contest.
oth teams were already assured of berths in the upcoming NAIA Division II National Tournament slated for March 11-17 in Point Lookout, Mo. Morningside will take a 27-4 record into the national tourney, while Midland will go in at 26-7.
The Warriors took immediate control of the contest when they outscored the Mustangs 12-0 during the first four minutes of the game. Morningside battled back to make it a six-point game, 43-37, at the intermission, before the Warriors went on another run to start the second half. Midland outscored the Mustangs 12-3 to start the second half and eventually led by as many as 23 points, 70-47, with 11 minutes left to play.
Midland finished with a sizzling 62.9 percent shooting performance from the field, largely due to Marcus Franklin and Alex Starkel. Franklin drilled 11 of 13 floor shots en route to a game-high 24 points, while Starkel was right behind with 21 points and a 10-for-13 shooting performance. Trevor Bryant joined them in double figures with 12 points off the bench.
Steve O’Neill scored 19 points for Morningside, which shot just 40.0 percent for the game. Storm Throne also made double figures with a season’s high 10 points off the bench. Andrew Christen was next with eight tallies.
Christen grabbed six rebounds to share game honors with Starkel in a game where the Warriors won the board battle by a 34-26 margin.
Morningside’s Ryan Tegtmeier led all performers with seven assists and three steals.