Despite two straight losses, Middletown remains ranked No. 1 in my top 10 poll.
Why? Simple. The defending Section 9 Class AA champions have not lost to a local opponent.
Middletown (4-2) fell last weekend to Bethlehem (72-65) and St. Peter’s (71-54) at the Christian Brothers Academy tournament. So what’s the deal?
“I don’t think we were too confident,” Middletown point guard Gammy Phillips said. “I think we needed those two losses to get them out of the way. The first loss, we saw what we needed to work on. The second loss will be a bounce back for us. Now we know what we need to do to win.”
I’m sure Middletown will be fine and, as Phillips will tell you, the Middies’ certainly aren’t panicking.
Returning to Section play, Middletown faces back-to-back big-time Section 9 games. On Friday, the Middies play at perennial spoiler Washingontonville in a non-league showdown at 7 p.m. Then, it’s on to the main event: Middletown hosts Kingston at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday in a rematch of last year’s Class AA title game.
Middletown beat Kingston 58-56 for last year’s championship. Of course, “The Ville” and Kingston are dangerous. The Wizards have won four in a row since opening the season with a loss to Newburgh Free Academy. This is Washingtonville’s chance to make a statement, to show it can play with one of “The Big Three” – Middletown, Kingston and Newburgh.
Meanwhile, Kingston has been waiting for this rematch for 10 months, after the heartbreaking Class AA final loss to the Middies at SUNY New Paltz last March.
“I know Kingston is going to come out hard after losing to us last year in the championship,” Middletown freshman center Hasahn French said. “Plus, they already lost to Newburgh. They don’t want another league loss. We are just going to do what we have to do. We know this games are important.”
Stay tuned for more coverage on both games. Always feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions, comments or story ideas.