Carteret runs clinic in win over Monroe

By: Carolyn M. Hartko
   Class was in session at the Monroe Township High School gym last Tuesday night as the visiting Ramblers of Carteret showed the hosts how the game of basketball should be played. The 59-39 loss to their White Division foe dropped the Lady Falcons to 4-5, while Carteret improved to 7-2.
   When it came to the Ramblers’ game, there didn’t seem to be any weakness to exploit. On average, the Carteret players had Monroe beat in the size department. They were able to score inside, outside, and in between, standing still, and on the move. Marisa Jiminez posted a game-high 18 points for the Ramblers, while teammates Amy Decibus and Courtney Larsen contributed 16 apiece.
   Carteret used a 16-8 first quarter to establish a healthy lead, and they were up by 18 (32-14) at the half. Monroe was simply unable to get their offense organized against the bigger, faster team.
   "They were good," Falcon head coach Keith Hudak said. "We haven’t seen Colonia, and we haven’t seen South Plainfield yet. But I don’t think anybody (in the White Division) will be as good as they were."
   In spite of drawing double and sometimes triple coverage, Monroe’s big girl Ali Baumlin netted 17 points and pulled down 11 rebounds. Freshman Mai’Lee Paselio posted six points, and Katie Lederman, Laura Gibbons, Emma Bossard and Laurie Costello tossed in four apiece. The Falcons only shot 16-of-46 (35 percent) from the floor, and Hudak felt that the speed and pressure from Carteret took his squad out of their game.
   "We’ve got to really focus on running our offense," Hudak said. "If we can keep ourselves under control, and get the ball inside we do okay. If you want to get a jump shot, you have to go inside first, and then kick the ball outside, and then you’re open. We don’t have the technical skill to come down and hold the ball for just two or three seconds before firing off the shot. We’ve got to take our time."
   Monroe did have two nice wins last week. They beat Sayreville 51-40 in a White Division match on Thursday night, then topped Allentown (41-31) in a non-conference game on the road on Saturday. Baumlin exploded for 26 points in each of those games. Gibbons, the senior point guard, helped out against Allentown with nine assists and eight rebounds.
   "I think we’re getting better," Hudak said, reflecting on those two victories. "After the Allentown game, we had three or four days of practice. We practiced really well. We put some new things in. We’ve definitely come a long way from where we were on December 19th."
   The Falcons were due to travel to Colonia on Thursday of this week, weather permitting, and they host South Plainfield next Wednesday. That game will mark the halfway point on this season’s schedule, and division rematches begin the following Friday when Perth Amboy comes to town.
   The transition from the softer competition in the Blue Division to the White has been tough on most of Monroe’s sports teams, but especially for girls’ basketball. In the past, Monroe had a shifting school population, and the Falcons were back and forth between the two divisions. However, Hudak is realistic about the way things are going for Monroe sports.
   "With all the growth Monroe has had, and all the kids we’ve added to the school, we’re never going back down," the coach said. "If anything, we’re going up. So, we’re going to see teams like Carteret every night. And we have to get ourselves ready to play like that."