HILLSBOROUGH, N.J. -- The Franklin High School boys basketball team continued its winning ways and defeated Hillsborough, 65-51, on Thursday night.
With the win, the eighth in a row, the Warriors moved to 9-3 on the season. The nine victories match last year’s total. In 2017-18, Franklin won its ninth game on Feb. 15.
The Warriors, under first-year coach, FHS alum, Tony Mento, are tied for second in the Delaware Division of the Skyland Conference with a 3-2 mark with Watchung Hills, which just knocked-off Gill St. Bernard’s.
Franklin topped Watchung Hills by five on Tuesday.
Mento credits strong defense, and a team-first mentality for the Warriors current success.
"This group of players completely bought into our, we is greater than me team culture and the concept of selfless, team-oriented basketball," Mento told TAPinto. "We are a tough, defensive-minded team who plays for one another and appreciates the opportunity to compete each time out."
Against Hillsborough, Jared Williams netted a game-high 15 points to lead three players in double figures. Tracy Brown added 13 points and Joshua Kuroda-Grauer chipped in with 12 more.
Franklin used a 21-15 second quarter to hold a 36-17 lead at halftime.
For the Raiders, AJ Stawderman and Allen Holman each made three 3-pointers and scored 13 and 11 points respectively.
Starting off the year, Franklin got two stiff tests right out of the gate against Hunterdon Central and Gill St. Bernard’s, both on the road. The Warriors lost 75-47 and 75-45 respectively to the two teams that are tied for first place in the division, but since then, as mentioned, they’ve been on a tear winning eight straight contests and nine of 10.
During the streak, Franklin has beaten Woodbridge, Union, West Orange, Bridgewater-Raritan, Immaculata, Manalapan, Watchung Hills, and now Hillsborough. Franklin also lost to Colonia while coming out on top versus Iselin Kennedy.
The loss to Colonia was a true turning point for the team this season. Mento said during that game a lot of things went wrong and the team's weaknesses were exposed.
"After the game, both the players and coaching staff vowed to never feel the way we felt after that game again," Mento told TAPinto. "Since that point, our focus on improving every day has been razor-sharp and we expect that to continue into February."
Currently, about halfway through the season, Franklin sits in a good position power point wise in North Jersey, Section 2, Group 4. Through Jan. 13, Franklin was in sixth with 158 power points, but with two more wins under its best, including one over Watchung Hills, which has 230 points, those points should rise significantly, considering Watchung Hills just beat Gill St. Bernard’s, one of the top squads in the state.
The catalyst behind the solid campaign thus far has been balanced. Three players on the team have 100 or more including Brown (117), Kuroda-Grauer (103), and Dominic Bacallao-Wright (100). Williams has bucketed 89 points, Anthony Milligan has poured in 82 points, and Trevin Midgette has recorded 74 points as well.
Brown has been the sharpshooter from the outside, and Bacallao-Wright and Kuroda-Grauer have not only stole the most passes, but have also found their teammates and dished out a bevy of assists. Bacallao-Wright has done it all with blocking shots as has Milligan. The Warriors have rebounded the ball well as a team.
Franklin's Saturday game against Plainfield at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, was canceled.
Follow Chris Nalwasky on Twitter @ChrisWasky.
TAPinto Franklin Township is independently owned and operated by Malik A. Lyons FHS Class of 93’ Graduate.