MIDDLETOWN >> For a half, No. 7 Middletown and New Britain played on even terms. In fact, New Britain led by as many as 11 points and a huge upset loomed.
Then came the second half.
In that half Middletown outscored the Golden Hurricanes by 22 points and turned a four-point halftime deficit into a runaway 66-48 win to improve to 17-1.
“It was senior night and with that, there’s always a slow start,” said Middletown coach Rob Smernoff. “I expected maybe four minutes, but I didn’t expect it to be so prolonged.”
Middletown trailed 15-14 after one, then fell behind by 11 at 26-15 midway through the second. The Blue Dragons twice got to within two points late in the quarter, but New Britain led 32-28 at the break.
Middletown came out and hit the Hurricanes with a 22-5 quarter and it was see ya later at 50-37 after three.
The Dragons poured it on in the fourth quarter and led by as many as 21 at 58-37.
“We were more concerned with their 32 points than our 28 at the half,” said Smernoff. “We pride ourselves on defense and in the second half we just stepped it up defensively and I was very pleased with that.”
Middletown was led by Jennifer Barbour’s 22 points. Brielle Wilborn (14) and Amanda Fudge (12) were also in double figures.
“Jen had a great game,” said Smernoff. “It took her a while to get out of soccer mode, but she is so aggressive. She’s one of those players who never takes a play off. I think she is one of the best defensive players in the state and her offense feeds off of that.”
Middletown hurt itself early at the free throw line, making just 8-of-21 in the first half.
Jamyra Irizarry (12 points) and Briana Clarke (10) led New Britain (9-9).
Middletown plays Saturday at RHAM at 3:45 p.m.