Harris, Hicks, Biasi spark Falcons to win over Matawan; key player out injured


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TINTON FALLS — The Monmouth Regional High School girls basketball team will carry a 9-2 record into its Shore Conference C South Division matchup with Jackson Liberty High School on Jan. 17 in Jackson.

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“It has been rewarding to have a group that has totally bought into everything we do and to see the love and appreciation they have for each other as teammates,” sixth-year coach Laura Forbes said of her players. “They are a hard-working group of really good human beings. It’s great to see them be proud of their product.”

One setback the players have had to overcome is the recent loss of junior forward Mia Troese, who injured her knee during a 43-39 victory over Donovan Catholic High School of Toms River on Jan. 12 and will be sidelined for the remainder of the season.

This is the second straight season Troese will be sidelined with a knee injury. Before she sustained the injury, Troese was a force to be reckoned with as she was averaging more than 11 points per game and had contributed 53 rebounds, 24 steals and 23 assists.

“Your heart hurts for her,” Forbes said of Troese’s season-ending injury. “She is a great kid. She missed all of last year and came back and was starting to feel good again. You feel bad for her.”

Now the Falcons will try to “rally for Mia,” the coach said.

Sophomore forward Amaya Harris stepped up in a big way for the Falcons in their first game without Troese when they took the court against Matawan Regional High School on Jan. 13 in Aberdeen Township.

Harris scored 12 points to lead the team and added two assists and three steals as Monmouth Regional defeated the Huskies, 35-17.

“It was a good win. It was tough losing one of our best players, but we were able to pull it together and get this win,” Harris said. “You have to keep in it mentally and pick each other up.”

The 2022-23 campaign has been a breakout season for Harris, who is averaging more than 10 points per game. She leads the team with 70 rebounds and 15 blocked shots.

Speaking about her strong performance against Matawan, Harris said, “I’m getting better with staying in (the game) mentally. I’m not checking out when things don’t go my way. I’m staying in it by cheering on my teammates and communicating with them more on the court to help keep us together.”

Junior forward Kate Hicks scored 10 points in the Falcons’ victory over Matawan and pulled down six rebounds.

In the backcourt, junior guard Julia Biasi put together an all-around performance against the Huskies. Biasi scored two points and added nine rebounds, four assists and five steals.

Senior guard Alyson Amadruto scored five points and pulled down five rebounds in the victory.

Seniors Olivia Hartman and Kamlyn Bevacqua, and juniors Kasey Chunko and Olivia Gades will have bigger roles to fill now that Troese is out with her injury.

“The most important thing is for us to stay tough and stay together. We have proved we are tough and we have to take that to the next level,” Forbes said.

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