MIDDLETOWN — The 2018-19 Middletown High School boys basketball season got off to a dramatic start Friday night as they traveled to Kings High School and outlasted the Knights 56-54 at the buzzer.
Middletown had three players log double-digits in the scoring column, and that effort was led by senior guard Aaron Jones (6-0, 175). Jones not only netted 14 total points, but also drained the final basket of the game to give the Middies their first win of the season.
Fellow senior guard Kei’aunte Powell (6-0, 170) chipped in 12 points against the Knights and sophomore Johrdon Mumford (6-3, 180) added 10.
“I’m happy to get the win at Kings on Friday,” said head coach Darnell Hoskins. “We have some mistakes to clean up, but the victory does give us a foundation to build on moving ahead.”
“We have a tough week ahead of us,” Middletown’s third-year coach continued. “Dunbar is a good team coming into Miller Arena on Tuesday, and we turn around with an upstart Hamilton (1-0, 0-0 GMC) team that’s an obvious GMC rival on Friday night. Saturday we head north to face Lima Sr. and that’s always a tough game, too.”
Hoskins’ knows you must mold a basketball system to your talent, and not force your talent into a certain system. This season marks the first time in the Hoskins’ Era where the Middies will be moving to a brand of basketball that closely resembles the fast-paced play that made his previous coaching stops so successful.
“We’re going to play fast,” said Hoskins. “Obviously, our goal is to win basketball games, but we’re also aware that we need to teach and learn to play this style of ball correctly.
“The faster we adapt, the sooner we’re going to reap the results we’re striving to achieve.”
The Middies roster is deep with experienced guards, and that will be their foundation this season.
Senior Aaron Jones is the Middies leading returning scorer (8.7 PPG), and he will be joined in the backcourt by Shandon Morris, Kadar Gardner, and Johrdon Mumford.
The front court will feature Kei’aunte Powell, Chance Walker, and Chris Stallworth. Stallworth averaged 5.4 points and 3.5 rebounds per game in 2017-18.
“We’re going to utilize the entire court both offensively and defensively,” Hoskins continued. “I’m excited that our roster and depth marries nicely with the style we’re looking to execute. We’re going to work very hard to play a brand of basketball Middletown will be proud of.”