Rudowitz leads MHS to season’s first win

By: Redd E. Patrick
   A.J. Rudowitz is such an instinctive player, he can tell what type of game he’s going to have just by warming up.
   So when he had that special feeling while warming up for the start of the Piscataway Vo Tech Tournament on Monday, he knew something was up.
   Sure enough, the 6-4 sophomore sensation from Monroe High School went out and scored 31 points as the Falcons posted a 47-39 victory over the defending Central Jersey Group I champion host Raiders. The victory was the first for Monroe (1-2) since the 2001-02 season.
   Rudowitz, who has played all five positions on the floor but who is a natural forward, shot 12-for-17 from the field and 6-for-8 from the foul line. In all-around effort, he added 12 rebounds, three blocks and three assists.
   "I can tell before a game how I’m going to play just by the feel during warm-ups," Rudowitz said. "And I just knew I was going to have a good game today."
   A year ago, Rudowitz was one of just a few bright spots for the Falcons, who did not win a game. Brought up to the varsity early in the season, Rudowitz wound up averaging 6.7 points per game and scored in double figures twice.
   This summer, Rudowitz performed admirably on the AAU and camp circuit. He picked up where he left off once the high school season started by scoring 24 on opening night vs. Woodbridge and 21 vs. Princeton one night later. Rudowitz is averaging 25.3 points per game despite playing against defenses which are designed to stop him.
   "I’m having fun," Rudowitz said. "The team is real supportive of me. Against Piscataway Tech, they guarded me pretty much one-on-one in the first half. In the second half, they were shading me, so that left the other guys open. I think a game like this will get everyone’s confidence going."
   "A.J. was outstanding," Monroe coach Pete LoPresti said. "He did a little bit of everything. He can really create a lot of things out there. He has worked so hard to get to this point. And the other guys played well too. Scott Basarab and Scott Modzelewski rebounded well and we just did a lot of good things. We’re still looking for more scoring options, but we’re getting there."
   Rudowitz moved from North Arlington in Bergen County to Monroe when he was in the seventh grade. He learned the game from his father Bill, a star at North Arlington and at Upsala College.
   "I’ve been playing basketball for as long as I can remember," Rudowitz said.
   Early on his scholastic career, it has certainly showed.
   REDD ENDS: Monroe played Timothy Christian in the tourney championship on Tuesday . . . Against Piscataway Tech, the Falcons held the Raiders to single digits in each of the first three quarters in building a 35-25 lead. Piscataway Tech cut the lead to six points with 1:00 remaining, but the Falcons pulled away from the foul line. Modzelewski added eight points, while Basarab scored six.