ONA -- The way Vic Herbert sees things, being the top-ranked team in Class AAA doesn't mean a thing unless his South Charleston team improves its ability to maintain its intensity.
"Dismal performance by us. A great performance by them," Herbert said after the Black Eagles beat host Cabell Midland 54-36 Wednesday night.
"I thought we had one good quarter, the third quarter. The way we played defensively - the pressure was really good. But we need to make sure we make steps forward every week to get ready for the State Tournament. We probably stayed even this week."
SC led 26-14 at halftime and committed 12 turnovers in the first half.
Most of those came on unforced errors - bad passes, charges and traveling violations among the things keeping the Black Eagles from getting out of their own way.
However, a 12-2 run to open the third quarter all but put the game out of the Knights' reach. SC had 21 steals in what was a sloppy game all over the floor. Midland (4-11) turned the ball over 26 times to SC's 20.
"Outside of the third quarter, where we got some separation there, I really wasn't too impressed with anything I saw tonight," Herbert said.
The Black Eagles played without two regular starters. Senior center Hunter Moles has a broken nose, and is awaiting a mask to be made. He is expected to return to action Friday night at home against Spring Valley.
Moles said he took a stray elbow to the nose in practice earlier this week.
Junior forward Kevin Williams did not make the trip.
He is serving a school-imposed suspension, which marks the second time this season the 2011 Kanawha Valley Rookie of the Year has missed games for disciplinary reasons.
The absence of Moles and Williams allowed Midland center Niles Dailey to play havoc in the paint, although his production wasn't among the common variety for a big man. Dailey had just four points and three rebounds, but led the Knights with three assists and five steals, and blocked a pair of shots.
It was a sign of the chaos that characterized the game from start to finish. Another was that SC reserve Tre Clark was the Black Eagles' leading scorer, with 10 points. No other SC player scored in double figures.
Midland sophomore forward Dakota Leonard led all scorers with 11 points, but spent much of the first half on the bench after drawing two fouls within the game's first 2:31.
"He's been our most efficient scorer, by far," Midland Coach Matt Stead said. "The problem we've had all year is that he can't stay out of foul trouble. That played out that way again tonight."
South Charleston did have nine of its 13 players who saw action reach the scoring column. While he was pleased that his entire active roster was able to get substantial playing time, Herbert again kept himself from too rosy a disposition after the rout.
"If we can't show that we can improve, and we top out, we're in trouble," Herbert said. "I think we will. It's just a matter of these guys realizing the importance of doing it."
Contact Preps Editor Derek Taylor at derek.tay...@dailymail.com or 304-348-5170. Follow him on Twitter @ItsreallyDT.
South Charleston (14-1) FG 3Pt FT Pts
Neal Brown 2-4 0-1 0-0 4
A.D. Cunningham 2-5 0-0 2-4 6
Trevond Reese 1-4 0-1 2-2 4
Devon Harris 3-8 1-3 1-2 8
Rashaud Kincaid 3-8 0-2 2-2 8
Isaac Cosby 2-4 0-0 0-0 4
Honore Dean 0-0 0-0 0-0 0
Brandon Knapper 2-6 0-2 2-3 6
Kentre Grier 0-0 0-0 0-0 0
Tre Clark 4-5 0-0 2-2 10