Little Falcons Surge Past Woodbridge In Second Half For Win, 48-30
By Greg Machos
February 1, 2008
WOODBRIDGE, NJ—For the second time this week, GMC Hoops headed out to a Freshmen Game. The two games came about this week after not seeing any Frosh games last week. Anyway, the web site traveled over to Woodbridge High School to see the Monroe Freshmen take on the Woobridge Freshmen. So far this season, Monroe's Little Falcons have done well by winning 14 of their first 17 games. With the likes of Kashaun Straughn, Matt Gorham, and Mike Mahmoud coming up from a 7th and 8th Grade squad that played well back in the 2006 Raritan Bay Summer League under Tim Brix, Sr., the Little Purple Birds show plenty of promise. Meanwhile, Woodbridge has Max Issaka, the younger brother of varsity starter and football standout, Adams Issaka. Derek Figueredo of Bishop Ahr also has a younger brother on the Baby Barron squad as well. The Baby Barrons started off by outscoring Monroe in the first quarter 11-9, and then maintained that lead going into the intermission as both teams ended the second in a 10-10 draw for a 21-19 Woodbridge lead at half. However, in the second half, Monroe's defense turned it up a notch, and limited the Baby Barrons to just 9 points while forcing 20 turnovers en route to a 48-30 victory.
With the game still in the balance midway through the fourth quarter, Monroe put the game away with a decisive 10-0 spurt over a span of just 1:23 that turned a six point edge into a commanding 42-26 lead with only 2:25 remaining. Guard/forward, Alex Vizcaino led the way for the Little Falcons with a game high 16 points on 5 of 9 shooting from the floor, and 3 of 4 from the line while also collecting 3 assists, 3 steals, and 2 rebounds over the final two periods of play. Mike Walp, a forward, and also the younger brother of the inspirational varsity hoops player, Ryan Walp, chipped in with 5 of 10 shooting and 2 of 5 from the line for 12 points along with 4 rebounds and 2 steals in the second half. Straughn also helped out with three field goals, and 2 of 4 from the line for 8 points as well as 4 rebounds and 3 blocks over the game's final 16 minutes. Mahmoud, the younger brother of recent MTHS graduate, Vinny Mahmoud, also had three field goals, and made a foul shot for 7 points while adding 3 steals and 3 assists in the final half of play. Gorham connected on a three pointer in the third quarter for his only points of the game while collecting two second half rebounds and three steals. Mark Delurey, Mike Scarrone, and George Meyers also played, but didn't score for the Mini-Purple Birds.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the scoring ledger, the younger Issaka connected on 6 of 13 shots from the floor, and 2 of 6 at the line for a team high 14 points along with 8 second half rebounds, 2 steals, and a block. Steve Kosakowski chipped in with a field goal, three pointer, and two foul shots for 7 points along with a rebound in the second half. Figueredo added a bucket and a free throw for 3 points while Cinello and Fasano had first half treys. Opoku, Ross, and Martin also played for the Barrons, but didn't score. For the game, Monroe made 17 field goals including four from long distance while netting 10 of 17 from the foul line. On the other hand, Woodbridge made 11 field goals including three treys while making five foul shots. The Little Falcons scored in double figures in each of the last three quarters of play while Woodbridge only rang up double digits in the first two periods. MTHS outscored WHS by a 10-3 margin in the third, and then a 19-6 margin in the fourth to come away with the win. The key to the second half turnaround for the Little Purple Birds was turnovers as they garnered a 12-20 edge in that department over the final two frames, and also enjoyed a 13-6 advantage in steals. Trailing by two at 21-19, the Monroe Freshmen started the second half with a 10-0 spurt over the first 5:17 of the third for a 29-21 lead.
Vizcaino, who led all scorers at the half with 9 points on three treys, sparked the rally by giving an entry pass from the right wing to Walp in the paint for a score, and a 21-21 tie at the 6:55 mark. On the next Baby Barron possession, Woodbridge turned the ball over with 6:30 left in the third. Twenty seconds later, Monroe was back on the board as Gorham netted his only points of the game on a three pointer from the left wing for a 24-21 edge at the 6:10 mark. Moments later, the Mini-Purple Birds were on the board again as Vizcaino swiped a steal, and handed out an assist on a three point play by Mahmoud, for an 8-0 run and a 27-21 advantage with 5:47 to go in the third as Woodbridge called for time. Following the timeout, neither team would score for a little over three minutes before Mahmoud passed to Straughn for a jumper from the right wing that capped the run for a 29-21 lead with 2:43 left in the stanza. Woodbridge tried to get on the board via the foul line, but Martin, and then Issaka both came up empty on two attempts and it remained a Monroe 29-21 lead at the 2:22 mark. Following two missed foul shots by Scarrone at the 1:23 mark, the Baby Barrons got their first points of the second half as Issaka drove the baseline on the left side for a layup, and a 29-23 MHS lead with exactly a minute to go in the period.
Issaka then closed out the third period scoring with one of two from the charity stripe with 21.44 left in the frame for the 29-24 Monroe lead entering the fourth. In the final quarter, neither team would get a field goal until the 2:55 mark. The Baby Barrons could only muster two field goals and two foul shots in the period while Monroe pulled away. Walp got things started with a pair of free throws for a 31-24 lead at exactly the 7:00 mark. Vizcaino then followed suit with one of two of his own from the charity stripe for a 32-24 lead at the 6:34 mark. Woodbridge then got on the board as Kosakowski netted his only two foul shots of the game to trim the deficit to six at 32-26 with 5:46 to play. Fifteen seconds later, the Baby Barrons had an opportunity to get closer, but Martin missed the front end of a one and one with 5:31 left. Both teams continued to struggle to get points as Walp came up empty at the free throw line with 3:48 remaining. Twenty seconds later though, the game began to open up for the Little Falcons as Straughn canned two foul shots for an eight point, 34-26 advantage at the 3:28 mark. Then came the pivotal sequence of the contest. With 2:55 to go, Walp grabbed an offensive rebound, and put it back in as he was fouled, but missed the bonus free throw. On the missed foul shot, Straughn stepped in for an offensive board, and put it back in for an unconventional, but pivotal four point play, and a 38-26 lead.
Over the next thirty seconds, Monroe proceeded to score four more points as Mahmoud got a steal and assist on a Vizcaino layup, and then the point guard got a steal for a layup himself that made the score, 42-26 as Woodbridge called a thirty second timeout with 2:25 left to play. Following the stoppage, the Little Purple Birds closed out the game with 6 of the final 10 points for the 48-30 victory. With the win, MTHS improves to 15-3 overall on the season. Special thanks goes to Monroe JV coach, John Bigos for providing the roster and record of the Monroe Freshmen team.
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