EDISON, NJ- The J.P. Stevens Hawks boys’ basketball team started their season strong with a commanding 56-22 victory against the Monroe Falcons. The Hawks came into the 2015-2016 season with high expectations for themselves, and they surely lived up to it Friday night.

“This season we want to improve from last year,” senior Mike Lionikis said. “And we want to be at the top of the white division.”

Both teams needed to shake off some rust to start the game as they both missed multiple shots and turned the ball over. The Hawks quickly found a rhythm in the first half, putting up 22 points by half time. The Hawks really hit their stride in the third quarter, out-scoring the Falcons 16-7, which put the game out of reach. They continued to cause havoc as they put another 18 points on the board to cap off the blowout.

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“Starting the season off with a win like this is extremely important,” Lionikis said. “This really sets the tone for this season and you can expect more of it.”

The Hawks had big performances from seniors Alex Corrigan with 15 points, and Mike Lionikis with 11 points. Junior Rishav Ghosh also broke out for 10 points, which opened the eyes of many spectators. Corrigan and Lionikis are both coming off good years from the 2014-2015 season, and are expected to have a big impact on this team. With production from other players such as Ghosh, the Hawks put themselves in a better position to achieve their goal, to compete and be at the top of the GMC’s White Division.

J.P. Stevens sent a message to the county with their impressive win. The game not only helped the team’s image of this season, but they also have gained confidence as they play their home opener Tuesday against Woodbridge, another White Division opponent.

Ben Mandell is a senior at J.P. Stevens High School.