"We definitely have to get him to touch the ball," Middletown coach Jon Jarrett said. "When he gets the ball, he draws two or three defenders and it opens up other players in the offense."
North (15-2, 11-2) did its best in the first quarter, fronting Costello and taking him out of the offense. He went scoreless in the first eight minutes and missed his first four shots. It was reflected in the Hubs' 18-11 lead after the first quarter as Evan Medley and Scott Rice scored six points each.
But Costello scored on a post-up move at the 7-minute, 10-second mark of the second quarter to ignite the Knights (9-8, 8-5). Middletown fell back into a 3-2 matchup zone and used Costello's powers of persuasion to grab a 32-30 halftime lead.
"We didn't handle things well when they went into the zone defense," North coach Tim McNamee said. "You have to give Middletown all the credit. But we didn't play very good defense. When you break down on defense, you breakdown everywhere else."
The breakdown continued in the second half for North. Middletown scored 13 of the first 14 points in the half - four by Costello and six by Jimmy Hardy off passes from Costello - to establish a 45-31 lead. North got back within nine points, but a Costello 3-point play in the fourth quarter put the game away.
Hardy complimented Costello by coming off the bench for 14 points while Darin Gordon added 11. Rice finished with 16 points and 11 rebounds for North while Medley had 14 points.
"You have to knock down a couple of shots against a zone," McNamee said. "When you don't score, it's tough to get back and get your defense set. (Middletown) just beat us in all phases of the game. We got whooped."
Middletown 68, No. 3 North 56
Keimig 2, Manning 3, Gordon 11, O'Leary 5, Brandenburg 3, Brown 2, Hardy 14, Costello 28. Totals 26 12-15 68.
NORTH HAGERSTOWN (56)
Rice 16, Rodgers 3, Naylor 8, Taylor 2, Carey 3, Medley 14, Green 10. Totals 26 2-7 56.
Three-point goals - Middletown 4 (Manning, Gordon, O'Leary, Brandenburg), North Hagerstown 2 (Rodgers, Carey).