Spring Creek forward Belinda Carson

Spring Creek forward Belinda Carson (2) goes up for a layup during Spreek Creek’s game against Midway.

J.J. Sankey scored 18 points and led a balanced Midway offense past Spring Creek, 54-17, in Eastern Carolina 2-A Conference varsity action on Friday night in “The Swamp.”

The loss drops the Gators to 1-14 overall and 0-6 in conference play.

“Even though we lost by a large margin overall, I think they grew a little bit tonight just by being able to do some things we wouldn’t normally do,” said Spring Creek head coach Charlie Cotten.

Trailing 18-1 at the end of the first quarter, Midway used its size and skills during the final three quarters to routinely score buckets in the paint.

Spring Creek played well defensively in the second quarter, allowing Midway to score only eight points, but the Gators struggled all night on offense.

“We lack defensive intensity at times,” said Cotten. “However, tonight I thought they did a very good job of stepping up. They were very active and we kept our fouls down.”

Spring Creek was paced by guard Maklya Hobbs, who finished the night with eight points. She was joined by Belinda Carson, who scored four points, while Kimberly Cox chipped three points.

“We have a very young team, and it’s a work in progress for us,” said Cotten. “We talked about individually trying to improve, if you improve individually ,then you’ll improve the whole team.

“We have some girls starting this year who were challenged skill wise, but over time, they’ve just gotten better and bought into what we’re trying to do, and they’ve bought into themselves. Tonight was a step forward.”

The Gators next challenge comes in the form of conference foe East Duplin on Jan. 29 at Beulaville.