MONTVILLE, NJ - It would be hard to ask for a better start to the season for the Montville boys basketball team.
After graduating its top three scorers from a year ago, there were many questions about who would step up and fill the void offensively going into this season. And if Friday night's season-opener against Morris Knolls was any indication, there are more than enough players who can find a way to contribute on the floor.
Behind a pair of 15-point performances by senior Mike Sesko and junior Anthony Ferrare, Montville took control with a dominant second quarter in a 57-38 victory over Morris Knolls at Montville Township High School.
“We were very excited. We knew we had to come out fast," Ferrare, a junior point guard, said. "We’re not the biggest team, so we knew we were going to come out and run, and out run and out-work them. That was the plan from the beginning, and I think we executed that plan from the beginning and ran them out of the gym.”
The Mustangs mostly traded baskets with Morris Knolls in the first quarter, before ending the quarter on an 11-0 run. Then, it had the game well in hand by halftime, as it out-scored its opponent 17-4 in the second quarter to take a 38-16 halftime lead.
Freshman Joe Rehberg added nine points, while senior Jason Tan added five to round out the scoring. Spencer Carus added five rebounds, seven assists, four blocks, and four steals.
“What I saw was that we just did all the little things," Montville coach Bill Medina said. "We battled for loose balls, took charges, made the extra pass. We just really played as a team today.”
It was an especially impressive performance from Ferrare, who was playing his first game as the starting point guard. His 15 points included three 3-pointers, and he also showed off some passing ability with three assists.
“We definitely have some stuff to work on, especially in that second half," Ferrare said. "We’re going to have to work on a press-break that works more efficiently so our guards don’t have to work as hard and so it’s easier to get the ball over half court. They had no answer for us in the first half, but in the second half we definitely learned some things about us that we can fix in the future.”
And Sesko, on the other hand, was a player that was being counted on to be the leader of the team going into the season as one of its only returning starters from a year ago. His experience will be vital to this team's success, with several new players easing into the starting lineup.
“It’s definitely a confidence-booster that we can build upon throughout the season," Sesko said of the win. "We have high goals this season, and this is the first of many for us. We’re only getting started.”
Sesko added, “It’s definitely a cool feeling. It’s something that I’ve been looking forward to and I’m just looking forward to leading these guys throughout the season and getting a lot of wins.”
With one win under its belt, Montville will look to continue to make strides after a 12-11 2018-19 campaign. It will have a tough task ahead of it in the Pequannock Holiday Tournament next Friday, when it takes on a strong Jefferson squad in the first round.
“We’re right where we want to be right now," Sesko said. "We’ve been working hard in practice every day, but we know we still have a lot to work on and we’re going to get a lot better throughout the season.”
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