Coach John Giraldo had plenty of reasons to be pleased with how his Matawan Regional High School team kicked off the boys’ basketball season.
Matawan relied on a balanced attack to roll to a 76-45 victory over the host team, Red Bank Regional High School, on Dec. 15.
“I liked how balanced we were,” Giraldo said. “We had three guys in double figures and had two other guys that had nine points, so that’s almost five guys scoring 10 or more points. That’s huge. We’re depending on a lot of underclassmen this year. I only have four seniors, so to see everyone getting involved was big.”
Giraldo was impressed with the play of two of his seniors, Reggie Tawiah and Michael Dunne. The coach pointed out that their aggressiveness set the example for how he wants the team to play.
Tawiah finished the game with 26 points and five steals, while Dunne contributed nine points, 11 rebounds and eight assists.
“I think we set the tone early,” Giraldo said. “Tawiah got going early and played very well by attacking the basket. They were really focused on stopping Dunne, but he didn’t force the issue and still almost got a triple double. He’s 6 [feet] 5 [inches tall] and can do it all. He’s the most versatile player in the Shore Conference to me.
“I also liked how we implemented sophomore Darryl Rogers in his first game. He had 13 points and really established himself as a key player for us going forward.”
The Huskies played hosted Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School on Dec. 19 and will travel to Shore Regional High School in West Long Branch on Dec. 21 for a 6:30 p.m game.
Red Bank Regional coach Scott Martin looked at the positives that came out of the defeat to Matawan.
“I thought in the first half, we took care of the basketball and got good shots, which was key for us,” he said. “If we can get good shots and take care of the ball, we can win. We shot 65 percent in the first half and played really well against a really good Matawan team. They most likely will be a real contender in the Shore this year.
“In the second half, we turned the ball over a lot and didn’t take great shots. Our youth showed in that second half. I only have two guys that have varsity experience, and the other 14 guys on the roster do not. It showed last night for sure.”
Martin was impressed with some of the performances that he saw from his players.
Juniors Liam Joyce and Brian Forsman played well, according to Martin, who was happy to see his junior big man, Dean Hottmann, get his first varsity action.
“Joyce had 10 points, and so did Forsman,” Martin said. “They both played very well. We need to get our big guy, [Hottmann], more involved offensively. He played well in the first half, but after he got his second foul, he was in and out of the game in foul trouble the rest of the night, and it took him out of rhythm. He’s 6 [feet] 6 [inches tall] and athletic, so we need him on the floor.
“Overall, it was a great learning experience for us, and hopefully we can use this performance going forward.”
Red Bank Regional traveled to St. John Vianney High School in Holmdel on Dec. 19 and will take the trip to Union County and play Plainfield High School on Dec. 21 at 7 p.m.