Monroe boys hoop team falls in winnable game

By: Redd E. Patrick
   There’s a youth movement going on with the Monroe High School boys basketball program. There are talented young players getting their feet wet on the varsity level, the JV and freshmen teams are winning and the youth programs in town are gaining momentum, but …
   Unfortunately there’s a negative interrupting all the positives.
   While coach Pete LoPresti and his staff know their team cannot compete right now with the likes of GMC powers South Plainfield, Colonia and Sayreville, there are winnable games on the schedule. So when those winnable games are turned into the losses, they sense the progress of the program becoming obstructed.
   This past week, the Falcons (2-9) played against Colonia and South Plainfield, two teams who could very well end up playing each other in the GMC Tournament championship. The results were not pretty as Colonia won 75-40 and South Plainfield 72-32, but it was the game in between which really hurt — Allentown.
   After Kyle Sorenson hit a 3-pointer with less than 20 seconds remaining to send the contest into overtime, Monroe wound up dropping a 61-59 decision. Both teams had two victories coming in. The game was in Monroe.
   Allentown had taken the final two-point lead on two foul shots with 40 seconds left in OT. Monroe had two chances from there, but missed a shot with 20 seconds to go, then went for the game-winner with three seconds left, but a 3-pointer was off the mark.
   "That one hurt," LoPresti said. "Those are the kind of games we need to win to get the kids’ confidence going. They need something positive to draw from. We had done some good things, we finally got some balanced scoring, but we couldn’t pull it out. We know we’re going to struggle with the South Plainfields and the Colonias, so games like these are so important for us to win because we have to change the losing atmosphere."
   While LoPresti has been looking for other players to step in scoring to take the pressure off sophomore sensation A.J. Rudowitz (21.9 points per game), he certainly got his wish in this one as four players cracked double figures.
   Rudowitz led the way with 20 points, while junior Kevin Rolland scored 15, junior Sorenson had 12 , while junior Troy Perry netted 10. Before this game, Rolland had scored a grand total of 18 points in nine games, while Perry had scored just three.