Two parochial powerhouses took separate bus rides all the way down to the deepest recess of Middlesex County, and both headed back up North with losses.
And it was a happy night for Monroe fans.
In a doubleheader at Monroe High School, the unranked girls’ team – which started the season second in the Bellamy & Son Paving rankings after winning the GMC’s top pod last year – knocked off current No. 2 and previously-unbeaten St. Thomas Aquinas, 55-41.
The Falcons (6-2) never trailed after jumping out to an early lead, and avenged a season-opening loss to the Trojans by 38 points. That loss, and another to East Brunswick after a COVID stoppage, had the Falcons starting 0-2, and dropping out of the Bellamy rankings. Aquinas fell to 7-1.
Click below to hear head coach Leigh Vogtman talk about Thursday night’s win over St. Thomas Aquinas:
Not to be outdone, the 8th-ranked Monroe boys were next up against No. 4 St. Joe’s of Metuchen, and pulled out a buzzer-beater of a win, as Eli Okocha – one of a set of triplets on the Monroe team, along with Jon and Josh – corralled a long inbound from underneath the basket with 2.4 seconds left, and chucked it up from 30-feet with 1.2 to play. It went in, giving the purple Falcons a 52-49 win, their first-ever victory over their namesakes from Metuchen.
Monroe improved to 7-2, while St. Joe’s fell to 11-3.
Like the girls, the win also avenged a season-opening loss for Monroe, which fell 60-49 to St. Joe’s in Metuchen on December 17th.
Click below to hear head coach Jeff Warner talk about Thursday night’s win over St. Joseph: