HomeAtl HubAtl Hub SportsEarly games challenge Falcons; squad looks to improve as season continues

Early games challenge Falcons; squad looks to improve as season continues

TINTON FALLS – The Monmouth Regional High School girls basketball team had a challenging stretch to begin the 2021-22 campaign.

Four of the Falcons’ first five games were against winning teams, including the likes of Shore Conference powerhouses Manasquan and St. Rose of Belmar.

The grueling start to the season had the Falcons at 1-4 and on a four-game losing streak heading into a home game against Matawan Regional High School on Jan. 14 in Tinton Falls.

Monmouth Regional rolled to a 32-10 victory over the Huskies to record its second win of the season.

“I’m always happy to get a win,” Coach Laura Forbes said. “It’s nice to see their growth in games.”

The Falcons forced 12 steals in the contest and sophomore Olivia Gades forced six Matawan turnovers.

“I couldn’t ask for anything more on the defensive end,” Forbes said. “Everything with us starts on defense. For (the players) to see we did not have to score too many points to win shows we can get it done with defense.”

Defense has been a key for the Falcons in their two wins; the other victory was a 47-27 win over Freehold High School in the season opener om Dec. 17.

Against Matawan, senior Ava Yeagle led the way. She hit a three-point field goal for the first points of the game and never looked back. Yeagle scored 11 of her game-high 15 points in the first half as the Falcons took an 18-6 lead at the break.

“Some of my shots were off, but I was able to get it going,” Yeagle said. “I have never been a big scorer; I was more of a defensive player. As I have been playing longer, I have started warming up to offense and being able to score more. It feels great.”

Yeagle averaged more than 14 points per game during a three-game stretch that included the win over Matawan.

“Ava has really emerged offensively this year,” Forbes said.

Senior forward Sydney Po contributed seven points and seven rebounds in the victory. Her offensive rebound and basket in the final seconds of the third quarter put the Falcons ahead 28-10 as the frame ended.

Po pushed the lead to 30-10 with 4:00 left in the fourth quarter when she took a pass from Katie Hicks, made a strong move to the basket and finished with a left-handed layup.

“I just try to look for my opportunities and go up strong,” Po said. “I have been practicing some low post moves and working more in the paint to give us more size down there.”

Junior Alyson Amadruto scored four points and contributed two assists against Matawan, while sophomore Julia Biasi led the Falcons with eight rebounds.

The Falcons are now focused on building on their victory over Matawan.

“We have really balanced out the division schedule,” Forbes said. “If we can take care of business there, people will see our growth.”

Monmouth Regional will host Point Pleasant Borough on Jan. 18.

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