WINDSOR >> Call it a statement game.
That’s what Middletown players and coach Rick Privott called their Central Connecticut Conference inter-divisional 89-80 win over sixth-ranked Windsor at the Ken Smith Court on Saturday evening.
“This was a very important win,” said senior Ahmod Privott, who scored 19 points, 14 in the second half. “We wanted to send a message that we’re a top team. We lost our first two [Weaver and Hillhouse] when we had some guys out, so tonight it was important to show who we are and to play Middletown basketball.”
All the Middletown starters scored in double figures, led by junior DeAaron Lawrence’s 23 points.
“This was DeAaron’s best game by far,” Middletown coach Rick Privott said. “Some of that football rust is coming off and I could see in his eyes he was feeling it tonight.”
“It feels good to win here,” Lawrence added. “It’s like last year when we lost our first two, but we can’t think about last year. We just have to come out and play hard every night.”
Besides Lawrence and Privott, Markevious Snead, who was a monster inside, had 17 points, Tyshaun James, who also rebounded and scored inside, had 12 and point guard Aveon Woods had 11.
“This was a huge win,” Rick Privott said. “It came against a very high-powered team on their court. We know that Kenny’s [Windsor coach Ken Smith] team was going to come out with guns blazing, so it was important to get off to a good start. You don’t want to fall behind a team that shoots the threes like they do.”
Windsor made 12 treys, but Middletown was right behind with nine. Middletown clearly played better defense and rebounded very well.
“Markevious does all the little things at both ends,” said Privott. “He clogged up the middle and along with Tyshaun, did a very good job inside, scoring and rebounding at both ends.”
Middletown took a quick 5-0 lead, but saw Windsor (6-2) go ahead 11-8 on a trey by George Gamble (25 points) at the 4:44 mark of the first quarter. But Middletown retook the lead on back-to-back hoops by James and led 21-17 after one.
The Blue Dragons twice had 10-point leads in the second quarter at 30-20 and 34-24, but the Warriors closed to within two at 36-34 before Middletown pulled away and took a 43-37 halftime lead on the strength of a Privott three-pointer from the left corner.
“Ahmod started slowly [he missed his first five shots], so I took him out to give him time to calm himself down,” said Privott, who is Ahmod’s uncle. “I just thought he was rushing things a little bit.”
A Privott basket gave Middletown a 49-39 lead early in the third, but Windsor again made a run and closed to with two points on three occasions, but couldn’t take the lead. Charles Sprowl restored most of the Dragon’s halftime edge with a straightaway trey just before the horn to give MHS a 58-53 lead after three.
Windsor made another run early in the fourth and took a 65-64 lead on a basket by Melvin Floyd (13 points). But as they did all game, Middletown answered and won the game going away, outscoring Windsor 25-15 down the stretch.
A big three-pointer by Lawrence with 2:23 left gave Middletown a 78-72 lead, but the hammer was delivered by Privott who, with MHS leading 78-73, scored the game’s next seven points and the Dragons were home free at 85-73 with a minute to play.
“We were not good at all,” Smith said. “Our rebounding wasn’t very good and we showed a lack of defense. But Middletown is very good. The Snead kid played really well and DeAaron didn’t surprise me. After all, I coached him in AAU ball.”
Middletown (7-2) is home with Wethersfield (7-3) Tuesday.