Middletown sends message in win over Newburgh

MIDDLETOWN – Top-seeded Middletown wanted to send a message against rival Newburgh in the quarterfinals of the Section 9 Class AA championship on Monday.

Consider that done.

Middletown put away Newburgh 73-48 in front of a packed house – led by 22 points by Aaron Ray in an efficient effort. Daniel Grant added 14 points for the Middies (17-2), Kyle Brown had 12 and Jordan Bryan scored nine.

Here is a look at the final minute of the game, highlighted by Bryan’s dunk:

Middletown will play host to fifth-seeded Roosevelt in the Class AA semifinals at 6 p.m. Thursday. Roosevelt, of Dutchess County, beat fourth-seeded John S. Burke Catholic 71-65 in another quarterfinal on Monday.

After the Newburgh win, I caught up with Grant and Bryan:

Middletown wanted to let rival Newburgh and the rest of Section 9 know that they are still the team to beat.

Many fans figured the eighth-seeded Goldbacks might give Middletown a run. After all, Newburgh’s a perennial local power and the defending Class AA champion. Despite a down year, Newburgh’s late-season surge included a hard-fought 49-46 loss to Middletown on Feb. 23.

Middletown beat Newburgh, which needed to win four of its last five Class AA games to make the playoffs, 81-64 on Dec. 15.

The Middies gained control of Round 3 by taking a 15-0 lead. Newburgh didn’t score until the 3:05 mark of the first quarter on a 3-pointer by junior guard Justin Mitchell, who had a team-high 18 points.

Newburgh closed to within five points late in the second quarter, but Middletown led 34-25 at halftime and went up 51-34 after three quarters.

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