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
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