Mustangs keep coming up short in close games

Local teams chase postseason berths, division titles


Staff Writer

JERRY WOLKOWITZ staff  JFK’s Noelia Santana tries to drive upcourt during the Mustangs’ loss to South River on Saturday in Iselin. JERRY WOLKOWITZ staff JFK’s Noelia Santana tries to drive upcourt during the Mustangs’ loss to South River on Saturday in Iselin. The John F. Kennedy girls basketball team is having another tough season, but not due to any lack of effort.

The Mustangs sit in last place in the Blue Division of the Greater Middlesex Conference, and are still seeking their first win of the year at 0-8.

But according to head coach Michele Lanigan, the team has by no means quit or called it a season. They loss to Southcome out fighting each game, but unfortunately are yet to taste victory.

“We play tough defense, but scoring is our problem,” said Lanigan.

However, the coach is staying positive with plenty of games left to be played.

“We need to play hard each game and give it everything we got,” she said.

The team, which includes the likes of Krystal Fowler, Noelia Santana, Kessoca Lopes, Rebecca Castellucci, Breehoba Phillippe, Danielle Hudson and Jaime Maguire, has lost its share of close games.

This was the case last Monday when the team lost to South Plainfield High School by a score of 51-44. Noelia Santana led the team in scoring with 17 points.

On Saturday, they dropped another close one, 35-32, to South River. Fowler (12) and Lopes (11) led the Mustangs in scoring in this one, but the Rams’ clutch foul-shooting (10-of-13 in the fourth quarter) provided them with the edge down the stretch

The ’Stangs were back in action last night when they traveled to Middlesex and will travel to Metuchen tomorrow.

In other girls action…

The Woodbridge Barrons are still very much in the hunt for a GMC White Division title, entering the week at 8-2 overall, and 6-1 in the division.

Head coach John Moyer’s squad entered the season with high hopes, coming off its second-place Red Division finish last season, when they were 17-7, and was anxious to make its mark in the White Division.

They’ve done so, and can take a huge step toward winning the division with a win over South Plainfield on Saturday in Iselin. But first they must beat Carteret later today, also at home.

The Colonia Patriots are also enjoying a solid season in the White Division, sporting a 6-4 mark heading into the week. The Pats are just 3-4 in the division, but are in good position to make a run at a postseason berth.

Teams must have a record of .500 or better at the end of play on Feb. 5 to qualify.

Head coach Tom Chmiel’s Pats will take on a winless Monroe team tonight in Colonia, before taking on sixth-ranked East Brunswick on Friday.

J.P. Stevens (10-1)held onto its No. 1 ranking in the GMC and is in the midst of a four-game winning streak.

The latest Hawk win came on Saturday, when they knocked off Paterson Catholic, 54-45, on the heels of Tania Kennedy’s 19 points, and a 12-point, 11-rebound effort from Kathryn Ruhno.

They are the team to beat in the Red Division, where they are 6-0, and the early favorite to be the top seed in the upcoming GMC tournament.

In the Blue Division, where Cardinal McCarrick appears to be the class of the field, both Bishop Ahr and Metuchen are putting together solid seasons.

The Trojans improved to 7-2 on the year with a 48-43 win over Middlesex on Friday, and at 4-1 in the division, still remain in the hunt for the divisional crown.

Kevin Harper’s squad has a busy week ahead of it, traveling to Spotswood last night and South River tomorrow, before hosting Highland Park on Saturday.

As for Metuchen., the Bulldogs fell to 4-5 with 41-33 loss to Edison on Saturday, and need to put together some wins to stay in the postseason picture.

They too face a three-game week, hosing Cardinal McCarrick last night and J.F. Kennedy tomorrow, before traveling to Spotswood on Saturday.

On Monday, the Bulldogs will host Bishop Ahr in what will likely be an important game for both teams.