Some coaches would temper their expectations if their team lost five seniors and featured only one senior starter. Middletown High girls basketball Head Coach Rob Smernoff is not one of those coaches.
“We can absolutely qualify for the state tournament again,” Smernoff said. “This team is young, but already their attitude and effort is a lot better than past years.”
Middletown will live or die based on how quickly its talented but raw core matures and improves. The Blue Dragons will largely rely on juniors and sophomores in 2011. More than half the squad is made up of freshmen.
Smernoff believes Middletown’s athleticism should be its biggest strength. “We can put five players out there who get up and down the court very quickly,” he stated. “We’re going to play up-tempo basketball as much as we can to make up for the fact that we don’t have much size.”
Key players for the Blue Dragons are senior Zenobia Adgers, junior DeAsia Lawrence and sophomore Rajeen Mayo. Their head coach characterized Adgers and Lawrence as phenomenal leaders and workers who younger players looked up to and followed the example of.
Middletown barely qualified for the state tournament last season at 8-12, but already in 2011 the Blue Dragons are off to a very strong start in reaching their ultimate goal to improve and get a higher tournament seeding.
Middletown cruised past Fermi in its season opener last Wednesday, defeating the Falcons 51-38 at home. The Blue Dragons raced out to a 17-4 lead and never looked back.
Rajeen Mayo had 12 points and seven assists for Middletown. The team received very balanced scoring, as five players had at least seven points.
In its first road contest Middletown eked out a huge road victory over Platt 52-50 to begin the season 2-0.
The Blue Dragons just held on at the end of the game. Leading 48-36 with three minutes left, Middletown allowed Platt to go on a 14-4 run before their opponent ran out of time.
“This was a great win for our team,”Smernoff said. “We kept played hard and kept our focus and composure when Platt was making their comeback at the end.”
The Blue Angel’s DeAsia Lawrence led all scorers with 15 points. Rajeen Mayo chipped in with 10 and Breona Watford had seven.
Middletown will host New Britain tomorrow night.