Published Date Written by Jim Lewis
The Middletown girls basketball team squeezed into the District 3 Class AAA playoffs last season, claiming the 20th and final playoff spot.
This season, the young Blue Raiders will depend on freshmen and a sophomore to return to the playoffs.
Sophomores Jey Rivera and Halle Marion are the only starters returning on the nine-member Raider team, which depends heavily on young players.
Still, Coach Chris Hunter hopes for a return to the playoffs – and maybe a playoff win. Middletown was eliminated in the first round of the District 3 playoffs last year, falling to Fleetwood.
“We’ll look to compete and see if we can return to districts, plus win a game or two,’’ said Hunter, admitting, “For a young team, that’s setting high goals.’’
The Raiders hope to run up and down the court, and score points off the transition.
“Our players are pretty quick,’’ said Hunter. “We are going to look to push the ball upcourt.’’
The Raiders will start freshman Jalyne Burton and feature freshmen off the bench – Jada Pettis and Ava Mrakovich. A sophomore, Madison Ruby, also could contribute off the bench, said Hunter. Senior Sara Crippen, who contributed off the bench last season, should start this year.
Jae Thompson, a junior, and junior Jordan Campbell, who played on the junior varsity last season, could also contribute.
Though many Raiders are young, they have spent their summer playing basketball and training in the weight room, said Hunter. They have bonded by playing basketball together, and that togetherness could result in teamwork that could carry the Raiders to success.
“They seem to want to play for one another rather than for themselves,’’ said Hunter.
Crippen, Burton and Marion are good 3-point shooters who will pose a threat from the outside, said Hunter.