Solid Group of Young Falcons on Display at Hoop Group Headquarters Spring League
NEPTUNE, NJ—A bright future for Monroe basketball remains ahead. Despite the coming losses to graduation from a squad that finished 22-5 overall, and reached the GMCT Final Four, the Falcons still have more solid years to come. GMC Hoops had a chance to witness it at the 2022 Hoop Group Headquarters Spring League on Monday night. Monroe played two games against St. Rose and Point Boro respectively.
Although sophomore guard, Myles Marabuto, the lone returning starter for next season, didn’t play, the young Falcons competed well enough to win both contests. The first contest against St. Rose was a back and forth contest with plenty of scoring. Over the first 27:05 of the contest, the Falcons and Purple Roses combined for 101 total points, and at least 13 lead changes. The defenses took over for the last 13 minutes or so, but Monroe found a way to win.
Porpora Shines Light on Monroe’s Bright Future
Freshman Joseph Porpora had the ball with the clock ticking down. He didn’t let his youth and relative inexperience hinder him though. Instead he knifed into the paint, drew contact, and scored the bucket that tied the game at 56-56 with 2.2 seconds remaining. Porpora then made the bonus free throw to complete the conventional three point play to put the Falcons ahead 57-56.
Following a St. Rose timeout, the Purple Roses inbounded the ball, but were unable to get a good shot off as time expired. Monroe didn’t get much of a break since it had another game with Point Pleasant Boro on an adjacent court. Once again, the young Falcons went toe to toe with Point Boro. The Panthers led for much of the contest, but the Falcons managed to get within two late.
Leading 53-51, Point Pleasant Boro closed the game on an 8-0 run for a 61-51 victory. Splitting its two games on Monday night, Monroe has a record of 2-5 against the varsity level competition in Pool A. Meanwhile, the other Falcons squad, Monroe II, has a record of 6-1 against JV competition in Pool B. Another GMC school, Sayreville, is also competing in the league and lost 56-36 to Fort Hoops on Monday night to fall to 0-7 in Pool A.
Veteran Piscitelli Helps Guide Future Falcons
Besides Marabuto, another returning player for next season is Riley Piscitelli. A standout in two sports, Piscitelli plays quarterback in football, and came off the bench this past season for Falcon hoops. Piscitelli played well in both games for Monroe. The junior provided a lot of scoring punch from the perimeter with several threes in both games. A bright future for Monroe may have stormy clouds early on, but it will get better. The cupboard will not be completely bare for the Falcons in 2022-23.
In addition to Marabuto and Piscitelli returning, Monroe will have the likes of juniors Aidan Lane and Jase Robinson coming back. On top of that, the Falcons also have solid talent from the JV and freshman levels. Porpora is just one example. Monroe enjoyed boys basketball success at all three levels in 2021-22. The JV earned the 4th seed in the 2022 East Brunswick/GMC JV Boys Tournament. Meanwhile, the freshmen team earned the 2nd seed, and reached the 2022 Perth Amboy/GMC Freshmen Tourney Final Four.
Solid Foundation Key Ingredient for Monroe’s Future
The Falcons success this past season began with a solid foundation several years ago. In addition to having the likes of veterans such as 1,000 point scorer Mike Kides and J.D. Daniels, who now plays hoops at Kean, the Falcons also had solid young talent coming up. Andrew Turco, another 1,000 point scorer, who now plays at Drew University, came up through the program during this period.
Last year’s graduating class of Chris Kobierowski, Aidan McLaughlin, and Jake Labaska entered high school with a big splash by reaching the 2018 Perth Amboy/GMC Freshmen Final Four. This year’s graduating class of the Okocha triplets (Jonathan, Josh, and Elijah) and Ryan Zurawiecki played on the 2018-19 Falcons freshman squad that not only reached the Amboy/GMC Frosh Semifinals, but also managed to defeat Colonia in the consolation to finish 3rd.
Monroe’s travel basketball program also has played an important role in building the varsity Falcons success this past season. One key contributor has been Joe Costa, a.k.a, Mr. Monroe. Costa coached the Falcons in both games last night, and has been involved with the boys basketball program for over 15 years. A bright future for Monroe still lies ahead.