GMC Hoops Summary–Monroe Downs Bishop Ahr at EB Team Camp, 52-38

Hoyt’s Clutch Three and Late FTs Help Falcons Notch Win

Monroe’s Matt Hoyt fires up a critical three pointer in the second half against Bishop Ahr at the 2016 EB Team Camp on Tuesday. Monroe defeated Ahr, 52-38.

EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ–After starting the season at 2-10, the Monroe Falcons came on strong to finish the 2015-16 campaign with 7 victories over their last 11 games to earn the 11th seed in the 2016 Greater Middlesex Conference Tournament, and give East Brunswick a good fight before bowing out in the Round of 16. The Falcons are only losing Eddie Pinto and Kenny Synsyn to graduation from this year’s squad so they have a lot of potential to do much better in 2016-17.

Monroe has already been at work for next season with the likes of Luke Patel, Matt Hoyt, AK Patel, Mike Kides, Hassan Reid, Kevin Shea, and Eric Johnson already putting in plenty of work with the squad playing in the MJBL Spring League’s High School Division. During the regular season, the Falcons were 7-1 in the West Division of the MJBL with the only loss coming to the Howell Hurricanes this past Sunday night by only four points (59-55) at the Central Jersey Basketball facility in Morganville.

The Falcons continued their offseason work this week at the 2016 East Brunswick Team Camp, where they played against nine other schools from the Greater Middlesex Conference and Roselle Park of the Union County Conference. One of the match-ups that Monroe had was against Bishop Ahr in the Lower Gym at East Brunswick High School on Tuesday night. The Trojans have a new head coach in former standout, Darius Griffin, Jr., and lost a couple key players from this past season in Corey Cizsek and Donald Fackina, but still have Sean Kudelka and Kieran Hodder returning while also adding St. Joseph’s transfer, Matt Panganiban.

Bishop Ahr gave Monroe quite a battle for much of the contest. Despite the Falcons attaining a nine point lead on several occasions in the second half, the Trojans didn’t give up as they rallied with a 9-3 run over a four minute span to pull within 41-38 with about four minutes to play. However, Monroe was able to pull out the win thanks to a conventional three point play by Hassan Reid, a three pointer by Matt Hoyt, and eight free throws down the stretch by Reid, Hoyt, and Eric Johnson helped seal a hard fought, 52-38 win. The game started out with both teams going back and forth for most of the first 10 minutes of the game.

Monroe had jumped out to a 5-4 lead over the initial 3:06 of the contest before Panganiban scored in transition following a BGA steal for a 6-5 Trojans lead at the 15:30 mark. The Falcons responded with a score of their own to retake the lead at 7-6 with 14:33 remaining in the first half. Kudelka put Ahr back in front at 8-7 when he connected on a short jumper with 12:33 to go in the half, but Monroe then took control with a 7-0 spurt over nearly a three minute span before Kudelka drew a foul and made one of two from the line to draw BGA within five at 14-9 with 9:45 to go before the intermission. Ahr drew a little closer when Kudelka scored on a basket as he was fouled to trim Monroe’s advantage to 15-11 at the 8:30 mark.

The Trojans then added another score when a player drove in from the left side to score on a layup at the 7:33 mark for a 15-13 Monroe lead. The Falcons managed to keep Ahr at bay though by scoring 5 of the next 7 points over the ensuing 2:18. Kevin Shea capped the run with a three pointer from the right wing at the 5:15 mark for a 20-15 lead. Monroe then scored 6 of the next 10 points including two free throws by Johnson at the 2:29 mark, another pair of foul shots with 1:23 left in the half, and then a layup at the 59 second mark to take a 26-19 lead. Kudelka then closed out the first half scoring by drawing a foul and making both free throws with 46 seconds left for a 26-21 Monroe lead at the intermission.

Over the first 2:16 of the second half, Monroe extended its lead to its largest of the game at nine points by scoring the first four points of the half including a putback by AK Patel for a 30-21 advantage at the 17:44 mark. After an Ahr free throw, Panganiban struck for a three from the left wing off a pass by Kudelka at the 17:24 mark for a 30-25 Monroe lead. About two and a half minutes later, Panganiban was on the board again after getting fouled on a drive and netting one of two from the charity stripe for a 30-26 Monroe edge. Once again though, the Falcons kept Ahr at bay by striking for a three pointer to take a 33-26 lead at the 12:30 mark. Kudelka pulled the BGA back within four at 33-29 on a three from the top of the key with 10:33 remaining.

Ahr was unable to get closer though as Monroe reeled off the next five points including a three point play at the 10:06 mark, and a score by Reid off a nice spin move from the left low block with 8:01 to play for a 38-29 lead. Following an Ahr timeout at the 7:50 mark, the Trojans put together a 9-3 rally over the next four minutes that included a three point play by Kudelka at the 7:43 mark, and a transition layup by Panganiban to pull within three at 41-38. Reid accounted for the only Monroe scoring during this stretch with a critical three point play of his own at the 5:46 mark. Unfortunately for Bishop Ahr, it wasn’t able to get over the hump as Monroe finished the game on an 11-0 spurt.

Hoyt sparked the final run by connecting on a three pointer from the left corner for a 44-38 lead at the 3:16 mark. Hoyt later added two free throws at the 1:45 mark for a 47-38 advantage. Johnson then made one of two at the charity stripe with 1:23 to play, and Reid netted two free throws at the 59 second mark to help wrap up the 52-38 victory. Monroe will be playing in the Monroe Sports Center Summer League, and will open play in that league against Ranney on June 22nd at 8:30 PM and versus Lakewood on June 23rd at 7:30 PM. Both games will be played at the Ranney School in Tinton Falls.