HomeMiddletown SunMiddletown SportsEagles soar to six-game win streak with 57-52 victory over Colts Neck

Eagles soar to six-game win streak with 57-52 victory over Colts Neck

MIDDLETOWN — There was no panic among the members of the Middletown South High School boys basketball team after the Eagles began the 2022-23 season 0-4.

The Eagles lost those four games by a combined total of 14 points and that statistic motivated the players to work harder to reverse their fortunes.

Led by seniors Dylan Csik, Patrick Brown and Matt Silva, the Eagles have kicked things into high gear with six straight wins. The team’s most recent victory was a 57-52 win over Colts Neck High School on Jan. 12 in Middletown.

Middletown South (6-4) will face Howell High School when it returns to the court on Jan. 14.

“They have done a tremendous job of being resilient all year. That’s who they are,” Coach Jimmy Cranwell said following his team’s win over Colts Neck.

“Our seniors did a great job keeping everyone together. We knew if we fixed a few things and took care of the basketball in the closing moments we would be fine,” he said.

Early in the game against Colts Neck, things did not look promising for the Eagles. Middletown South trailed by six points after the first quarter and was down 23-14 with 5:00 to play in the second quarter.

Defensive pressed helped the Eagles turn the tide as the second quarter wound down. Two steals and two fast-break buckets began a 19-2 run that was capped off by a three-point field goal from Silva as the Eagles grabbed a 33-25 lead at the break.

“We work on our pressure defense every day and our guys did a good job of following the scouting report and understanding how to pressure (Colts Neck),” Cranwell said.

The Eagles controlled the action in the third quarter and took a 47-36 lead into the fourth quarter.

Trailing by 11 points, the Cougars mustered up a run of their own to get back into the game. Senior Will Surdez scored 10 of his team-high 16 points in the fourth quarter to bring the Cougars to within a point, 49-48, with 3:57 to play.

Moments later, Surdez had the assist on a basket by Dillon Younger as the Cougars took a 50-49 lead.

Although the Eagles’ 11-point lead had vanished, the players’ resiliency was still evident.

“We have played in probably more close games than anybody else in the state. We have been here and our guys have confidence in these moments,” said Cranwell.

Junior Owen Richter stepped up to score two baskets in the final 2:00 as Middletown South regained the lead.

A nice pass on the baseline by Csik led to Richter scoring a layup to put the Eagles ahead 51-50 with 1:53 to play.

Richter dialed up another stellar play on the Eagles’ next possession. He grabbed an offensive rebound off a missed three-point field goal attempt by sophomore Brady Hahn and converted the put-back for a 53-50 lead with 1:24 to play.

Richter finished the game with 10 points

“I’m just trying to make the right play to help my team win,” said Richter. “I tracked down the rebound and just put it back in.”

Clutch free throw shooting down the stretch by Brown helped Middletown South seal its sixth straight victory. Brown was 4-4 from the foul line in the late going and finished with 17 points.

“It’s all about muscle memory and not letting the moment get to you,” Brown said about making free throws. “We work on them every day in practice and the hard work is starting to show.”

Brown is averaging more than 12 points per game. He scored 64 points in the team’s last four games. Csik is averaging more than 13 points per game to lead Middletown South.

“We are full of confidence right now. We can beat anyone,” Brown said.

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