MIDDLETOWN >> The Middletown boys basketball team welcomed senior forwards Tyshaun James and Markevious Snead back into the lineup against Newington on Friday afternoon. Both had been hampered by injuries.
So it was certainly a happy sight for Blue Dragons coach Rick Privott, who finally put the lineup on the floor that garnered a spot in the New Haven Register/GameTimeCT Top 10 preseason poll.
James was making his first appearance of the season and while he was getting the rust off, Newington was building a 10 point first half lead.
The third quarter, however, turned into a Middletown basketball highlight film.
Snead opened the second half with a 3-point bomb and James followed with a fast break dunk to spark the Blue Dragons’ to an impressive 32-point explosion in the third quarter.
“It was up-tempo and we kept putting the pressure on,” Privott said.
And Newington never recovered.
The seventh-ranked Blue Dragons evened their record to 2-2 with a 70-56 Central Connecticut Conference victory at LaBella-Sullivan Gymnasium.
Junior guard DeAaron Lawrence scored all of his team-high 19 points in the second half, while senior guard Ahmod Privott made 16-of-17 free throws and finished with 18 points to lead the Blue Dragons.
Lawrence drained a pair of 3-pointers and also added a conventional three-point play during Middletown’s sensational third quarter.
The Blue Dragons, who trailed 22-17 at halftime, took the lead for good when Privott sank four consecutive free throws for a 31-28 advantage.
Snead (15 points) and senior Dayquan Singletary (seven points) capped a 17-4 spurt with back-to-back treys and Middletown led 42-32 with 1:40 left in the third.
“I told the kids we were doing all the little things in the first half,” Privott said. “We were rebounding and getting loose balls. The only thing missing was the ball going though the hoop. We started making shots in the second half.”
Newington senior guard Jared Simmons tossed in a game-high 24 points, while senior forward Matt McKinnon added 22 points. Simmons buried a pair of 3-pointers to give the Indians (1-4) a 16-8 lead after one quarter.
The Blue Dragons chipped away at the deficit in the second quarter before outscoring Newington 32-14 in the third.
“This is like our first game almost because it’s the first time with everyone healthy,” Privott said “This is the rotation we’re looking for. And we’re deep now so it makes a difference. I’m excited.”