MIDDLETOWN >> So that’s what the best team in the state looks like.
No. 1 ranked Hillhouse blasted No. 7 Middletown 82-48 in front of a full house of 900 at the LaBella-Sullivan Gym Monday evening.
“Their defense was all over us,” said Middletown coach Rick Privott, who played without both of his big men, Markevious Snead and Tyshaun James. “They are long, strong and quick. It’s the best defense I’ve seen in a while, but we didn’t handle it well.”
Said Hillhouse coach Renard Sutton: “I’m never disappointed with our defense. We had too many turnovers, but our defense made up for that.”
Middletown turned the ball over 20 times and was dominated on the boards, especially on the offense end.
“Yeah, they beat us up on the boards,” said Privott. “But we didn’t box out well. No question our bigs could have helped out a lot.”
James should be back at the end of the month, but Snead is day-to-day.
“We just don’t know about Snead,” said Privott. “He tweaked his knee against Weaver (he scored 17 against the Beavers) and we just don’t know.”
Without his bigs, Hillhouse was unchallenged on the backboards.
“Middletown is tough,” said Sutton. “They were playing without key guys and had they played, it would have been a much closer game. I don’t know if the outcome would have been different, but it would have been a different game.”
Hillhouse took a 21-10 first quarter lead and Privott thought his team was a bit tentative at the start. “Their speed at the beginning of the game got the kids a little rattled,” he said.
The Academics, the defending Class LL state champions, poured it on the second quarter, taking a 39-15 lead at intermission.
Middletown was plagued by poor free throw shooting for the second game in a row. Privott said his team’s inability to covert at the foul line cost his team the Weaver game, a 65-64 loss in which the Blue Dragons were just 13-of-25 from the stripe.
Against Hillhouse, they were just 14-of-24, but on this night, that was just a statistic.
Hillhouse (1-0) and Middletown (0-2) played essentially even in the third quarter as the Acs took a 60-35 lead to the fourth Hillhouse had four players in double figures, Joey Kasperzyk (19), Byron Breland (14), Davon Warner (11) and Christian Adams (10).
Ahmod Privott led Middletown with 16 points, all in the second half. No other Middletown player was in double figures.
“Our guys play so well together,” said Sutton. “When Middletown gets all its kids back, it’s going to be very tough. They play very hard.”
Does Privott regret scheduling Hillhouse?
“Oh no,” he said. “I want our kids to be playing in big games against good teams. That’s how you get better.”
Hillhouse 82, Middltown 48