Competition was tough for Monroe girls basketball team over holidays

By: Carolyn M. Hartko
   SOUTH BRUNSWICK – The Monroe Township High School girls’ basketball team was in some pretty powerful company at South Brunswick’s annual Holiday Classic over the winter vacation. The host school expanded the tournament to eight teams for the first time, in order to insure at least three games for every entrant.
   According to Lady Falcon head coach Keith Hudak, his squad may have been a little out of their element against schools like Bridgewater-Raritan, Immaculata, Piscataway, West Windsor-Plainsboro South and South Brunswick.
   "It’s a good tournament – there’s no question about that," Hudak said. "The facility here is nice, the teams are good. It’s a big-time tournament. We might even have to take a look at that, and see if this is in our best interest."
   The Falcons had a tough time in their first game, losing to Bridgewater 54-30 in the opening round. The second game was closer, but the Falcons dropped that one to Union 40-29. Union came out a little tentative, and Monroe was ahead 9-2 at the end of the first quarter. But a 19-4 run in the second period put the Farmers out in front for good.
   Union did the job with a balanced scoring effort. Anjelita Mobeli led her team with eight points, and Laly Negron and RoRo Johnson added six apiece. Monroe’s Ali Baumlin posted a game-high 11 points. Closest to that were several Falcons who netted four points: Katie Lederman, Emma Bossard, Laurie Costello and Mai’lee Paselio.
   "I think we had more than a chance to beat this team," Hudak said. "But we’re not putting the ball in the basket. If you take our first four games, we’re only averaging 31 points a game. And you’re not going to be winning too many games, only scoring 31 points."
   As of Monday, the Falcons had an 0-3 start to the 2003-2004 season. Their final game in the SB tournament was against Sayreville, a team they will face twice on their schedule, since both schools are in the Greater Middlesex Conference’s White Division. The regular season resumes Saturday, when the Falcons will be at North Brunswick for a 1 p.m. game. Monroe hosts Sayreville the following Thursday night. Hudak was hoping that the stiff competition in this week’s tournament would sharpen his players skills going into the new season, but he wasn’t sure what the squad would take away from the experience.
   "That’s one of those two-fold things," the coach said. "You hope the better competition makes you a better player. But at the same time, you just don’t want to keep getting beaten, and beaten and beaten."