By Warren Rappleyea Staff Writer JERRY WOLKOWITZ Middletown North’s Mike Niesz drives past Freehold Township’s John Kambon during the Lions’ overtime loss at home on Friday. On the heels of a solid 56-45 win at St. John Vianney in Holmdel on Saturday, the Matawan High School boys’ basketball team is looking forward to the second half of the campaign. Freshman Jason Simmons put up 12 points, pulled down 12 rebounds and blocked five shots, as Lucas Castell contributed 14 points and A.J. Roque added 13 points for the Huskies. “That was a big win for us,” Matawan coach Jack George said. “This is a relatively young team, so it will give us some confidence. The guys really came out with purpose against St. John’s, and they played well from start to finish.” The Huskies are indeed a young team, and to make matters more difficult, a scheduling snafu resulted in just seven home games this season. At this point, Matawan has played more games at St. John Vianney’s (four) than it has at home (three). “These things happen, so we’re just trying to work hard and get better,” George said. “We have an up-and-coming team. We have only two seniors, so most of our guys will be back next year, the jayvee and freshman teams are doing well and the Matawan Avenue Middle School team is undefeated. There’s talent in the program, and more is coming.” Senior Troy Robin, a 6-4 forward, leads the Huskies in scoring with an average of 13 points and also contributes seven rebounds. Simmons, who stands at 6-5, is right behind with averages of 12 points and seven boards, and Castell, a junior, is also averaging in double figures, with 10.5 points and 2.5 assists. Point guard Chris Coachman and Roque are averaging six points apiece, and 6-5 forward Carl Howard, usually the first man off the bench, is averaging two points and three rebounds. Other members of the team include senior swingman Mike Abromowitz and sophomores Rasheed Edwards and Eric Fertig, both guards, and Kevin Edwards and Sandy Perry, two forwards. The 6-5 Perry, a recent transfer student, becomes eligible on Friday when the Huskies host Rumson-Fair Haven. At 4-8, it seems a long shot for the Huskies to earn a state playoff berth this season. However, the young team is overcoming adversity and is getting better as the season progresses, which is all a coach can ask for. With a solid nucleus of players at Matawan now, George has plenty of reasons to be optimistic about the future of the program. “We have a lot of potential, and I see a bright future for our team,” he said. “We have talent and height; the only thing we lack is experience. But that’s coming.” By Warren RappleyeaStaff Writer Scheduling mistake leaves team with just seven home games
Wong was out of town and could not be reached for comment. He was earning an annual salary of $325,000 under an open contract with no expiration date, officials said. Board Chairman Dr. John Manning said Wong was agreeable to leaving. “Les came on in very tumultuous times. He stabilized the hospital. We have a stable board now. He turned around an operating deficit to profit. But now we have had Ed for two years. He’s been involved in facilities and financial planning. It’s a natural transition now to move Ed into the position,” Manning said. “It’s been a privilege for me to serve Antelope Valley Hospital and the community,” Mirzabegian said. “I’ve been here almost two years. During my short tenure here I’ve done tremendous work to change the culture and push the hospital toward the right way in the future. We have a long way to go to make Antelope Valley Hospital the hospital of choice for our community. I’m delighted and will do my best to fulfill my responsibilities.” The hospital board in September 2003 named Wong as permanent chief executive officer after his six-month service as interim CEO. Wong was named interim CEO, replacing ousted CEO Mathew Abraham. Wong had been the hospital’s chief financial officer. email@example.com (661) 267-5744160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Mayer said he agreed it was time to replace Wong but wanted to conduct a national search for a new top administrator and retain Wong during that process. “We are a large hospital. We have many issues, and I just felt along with a national search Ed could have applied and maybe we would have chosen him anyway,” Mayer said. The board held at least four closed-door meetings since March to discuss Wong’s performance, including two meetings this past week on Monday and Friday, neither of which Parazo attended, officials said. The vote Friday comes after the hospital reported a year-to-date loss of $10.2 million at the end of April. Other issues cited by directors included low patient and employee satisfaction ratings, although they have been improving over the past few months, directors said. In addition, the hospital is embarking on Phase 1 of a major expansion, a $90 million plan that includes nearly doubling the size of the emergency room, adding more ICU beds and remaking the hospital entrance, a project that Mirzabegian spearheaded. LANCASTER – Antelope Valley Hospital Chief Executive Officer Les Wong was terminated Friday in a 3-1 vote by the hospital’s board of directors. Officials said the action was an amiable separation with Wong agreeing to step down, and the board named Chief Operating Officer Ed Mirzabegian as acting CEO, pending contract negotiations. “We need a different set of skills than we needed when we hired Les. When we hired Les, one of the biggest problems was the board,” director June Snow said. “Now the board is much more stable, and we have problems with operations that need to be addressed. Ed is really the guy to do it. He has been here two years and shown the skills that he is the guy to do it. We need someone who is a lot more operational-oriented.” Director Berna Mayer cast the dissenting vote, and board member Dr. Don Parazo was absent.