MIDDLETOWN >> There’s perhaps something big developing with the Middletown girls basketball team.
After upsetting South Windsor in overtime Tuesday, the Blue Dragons followed that up with a 55-20 blowout win over Maloney of Meriden in a Central Connecticut Conference South division game in front of more than 200 at the LaBella-Sullivan Gym Thursday evening.
“I was very pleased with how we played, especially at the defensive end,” Middletown coach Rob Smernoff said. “We wanted to shut down No. 23 [Malanie Polanco], who is a kid who can score in the 20s and we did that.”
Middletown (2-0) wasn’t too shabby at the offensive end, either. Guard Amanda Fudge and center Brielle Wilborn, a University of Hartford recruit, each had 15 points as the Dragons ran away from outgunned Maloney early, taking a 14-3 first-quarter lead and an overwhelming 30-5 lead at intermission.
“We have a lot of options offensively, but I was focusing on getting the ball to the post [Translation: Wilborn] because if we got the ball inside, that would open things up for our jump shooters,” Smernoff said.
He need not have worried.
Wilborn had only five points in the first half, but Fudge had 13, including two threes.
“Fudge did a great job running things,” Smernoff said. “Whenever things got a little out of control, she settled things down. She also did a good job at finishing her shots.”
It was Maloney’s season-opener and first-year coach John Vieira would have liked to open with someone else.
“Oh no, maybe not the best team to open up with,” Vieira said. “Middletown is a great team and we have a lot of things to fix. We’re very young as we play two freshman [Olivia Aitken, Courtney Ubaike] a lot.
“I have no problem with our effort. But we have to clear up a lot of little things.”
Maloney was stymied inside as Wilborn blocked four shots in the first quarter to help the Dragons build up the early lead. Middletown led 49-12 after three and coasted home as Smernoff cleared the bench in the fourth quarter.
Middletown got scoring from seven players as Dominique Highsmith had eight points and Silvana Barcomb had six to lead the rest.
Ubaike led Maloney with six points.
“Our kids showed a lot of maturity,” Smernoff said. “This game worried me a little because after that big win over South Windsor I feared a letdown. But clearly there was no letdown tonight. That’s a good sign for the future.”
Middletown plays at Newington Tuesday.