JFK boys hoops team struggling through season


The John F. Kennedy High School boys basketball team fell to 3-11 on the season with a 57-40 loss to Timothy Christian Friday night. The loss to Timothy Christian ended a week of three straight losses for the Mustangs after dropping games to Highland Park and Monroe.

“The team isn’t giving a bad effort at all,” Kennedy head coach Chris Banos said. “The problem is that our shots just aren’t falling. We’ve been playing well defensively, but we just can’t put the ball through the basket right now. We’re averaging somewhere around 36 points, and this just isn’t enough.”

Kennedy’s Joe Marciano led the team with 22 points in the loss to Timothy Christian while teammate Nick Spoganetz chipped in eight points with a pair of three-pointers.

“Joe has really put the scoring load on his back of late,” Banos said. “He’s been mixing it up, too. He’s been taking the ball inside and getting to the basket, but he’s also been knocking down outside shots.”

Like Spoganetz, Marciano sank two jumpers from three-point range in the loss. T.J. Jambo led Timothy Christian with 16 points and nine rebounds while teammate Colin Robbie added 14 points.

“That was the best game we played all last week,” Banos said. “We were in the game, but just couldn’t hold on for the win.”

Earlier in the week, the Mustangs had the opportunity to sweep the season series with division rival Highland Park. In the first meeting between the two schools, Kennedy cruised to a 17-point victory. This time, Highland Park limited its turnovers and won 45-35.

“We shot well in our first meeting with them, but struggled this time,” Banos said. “We applied a lot of pressure and forced some turnovers in the first game, which led to easy baskets. We weren’t as fortunate the second time around.”

Tyler Flowers led the Mustangs with seven points in the Highland Park loss. The team followed the Highland Park loss with a 71-23 defeat at the hands of Monroe. At the time, Monroe was unbeaten in the Greater Middlesex White Division.

After opening the week against South River, the Mustangs return to action against Colonia. After knocking off Monroe last week, Colonia earned a share of the White Division lead. Kennedy is scheduled to take on Colonia at noon on Jan. 31.