Red Bank Regional tops Cougars to extend win streak to three


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Coach John Truhan and his Red Bank Regional High School girls basketball team are finding their groove on the hardwood.

After starting the season 3-8, the Bucs (6-8) have won three straight games, the most recent being a 46-35 victory over Shore Conference B North Division foe Colts Neck High School on Feb. 3 in Little Silver.

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Red Bank’s defense stifled the Cougars, who came into the contest with 10 wins, and paved the way for the victory.

“Anybody can beat anybody on any given day,” Truhan said. “Today was a big step. We just keep getting better each game. From player No. 1 to player No. 20, everyone is making a difference.”

The Bucs held the Cougars to 10 points in the first half and led 20-10 at the break.

While the defense kept the Cougars’ offense in check, senior Iris Azcona went to work on the offensive end to put Red Bank in control. Azcona scored 11 points in the first half, including eight points in the second quarter, and finished the frame with back-to-back layups.

“We all bring something different to the table,” Azcona said. “I’m a point guard who can shoot and pass. Having that versatility really helps as a point guard. Once I was able to knock down a couple three-pointers, it opened things up for our bigs down low.”

Azcona finished the game with 18 points and three three-point field goals.

As the only senior on the team, Azcona has assumed the leadership role from her point guard spot and has helped the Bucs rebound from their tough start.

“We have a lot of young and inexperienced players on varsity, so it took us a few games to find our niche,” Azcona said. “Once we found it, we got in a groove and we don’t plan to stop.”

Red Bank pushed the lead to 36-22 entering the fourth quarter. That is when newcomer Josie Munson stepped up to help the Bucs close out their upset victory.

Munson, a junior, was playing in her first game for the Bucs following her transfer from Germantown Academy in Fort Washington, Pa. She sat out 30 days as a transfer and said she was “so excited” to make her debut against Colts Neck.

Munson dialed up a layup with just under 4:00 to play to extend the lead to 40-27.

She followed that basket with two more layups, including one in which she took a perfect bounce pass from Azcona while cutting to the basket before finishing the play with a reverse layup to push the lead to 44-28.

Munson scored 16 points in her Red Bank debut and gives the Bucs another dependable scorer alongside Azcona and sophomore Camryn Gardner heading into the homestretch of the 2021-22 campaign.

“It felt great,” Munson said of her debut. “I have really been looking forward to this day and getting to play with the team. I have bonded with them since I came here and it felt great to finally play with them. I’m ready to go.”

Gardner scored four points and sophomore Ellie Lynch added five points in the win.

As of Feb. 4, the Bucs had four games left before the Shore Conference Tournament cutoff date and were trying to go 3-1 in that stretch to qualify for the tournament.

“We need to take it one game at a time,” Truhan said. “We have a ways to go. Hopefully we can make a run at making it into the Shore Conference Tournament.”

The Bucs are also working toward a berth in the Central Jersey Group III state sectional tournament.

“We have worked really hard and are coming back now,” said Lynch. “I hope we can keep this going as we move forward.”

Red Bank will host Westampton Tech on Feb. 7.

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