ABERDEEN TWP. – Not many guards in the Shore Conference are as good at getting their own shot as Matawan juniors Joe Piscopo and Jason Dunne, but when senior teammate Chris Tawiah gets on one of his rolls, the two juniors become pass-first point guards.

Tawiah caught fire to open the third quarter to give Matawan – the No. 3 team in the Shore Sports Network Top 10 – the lead for good, and the Huskies beat No. 7 Red Bank, 64-50, Thursday for their 10th straight win.

Matawan junior Joe Piscopo scored 14 points and ht a 75-foot bank shot to beat the halftime buzzer in Matawan's win over Red Bank Thursday.

Tawiah finished with a game-high 23 points, including eight in the first 1:30 of the third quarter to swing the game from 27-23 in favor of Red Bank to a 34-29 Matawan lead. He scored 15 points in the second half, which saw the Huskies outscore the Bucs 41-23.

“You can always tell when he’s feeling it, and when he gets going, me and Jason know we have to get him the ball,” Piscopo said of Tawiah. “The toughest thing about defending him is he’s got such a quick release, so he doesn’t have to be wide open to get off a good shot.”

Piscopo finished with 14 points and four assists while Dunne had nine points, five assists and four steals for Matawan. Piscopo helped ignite the Matawan rally by nailing a 75-foot shot from the opposite wing as time expired in the second quarter, cutting a seven-point deficit to four, 27-23, going into halftime.

“I don’t work on shots like that, not at all,” Piscopo said. “I just knew the clock was running out and just threw it up. I didn’t expect it to go in, so when it did, it was a nice lift to go from down seven to down four.”

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“I didn’t know we were down four at the half, not because it felt like more, but I knew we were in the game and that’s really all that matters at that point,” Tawiah said. “I didn’t even see Joe’s shot go in, but it definitely woke up the whole gym. We just knew we had to play better and if we played better, we felt like we were going to win the game.”

Red Bank took a 27-20 lead to the closing seconds of the second quarter before Matawan stole the momentum with Piscopo’s halftime heave. The Bucs hit four of their seven 3-pointers in the first half despite shooting more of them in the second half.

“Even though they hit most of their threes in the first half, I thought we were giving their shooters a little too much respect,” Matawan coach Tom Stead said. “We switched to that 3-2 zone with the wing dropping to the baseline and that made it harder for them to swing the ball around and get it inside.”

Sophomore Mergim Gyjrigi scored 10 points off the bench for Matawan, while junior Anthony Mitchell came off the bench to lead Red Bank with 15 points, including 12 points in the second half.

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Mitchell and senior Corey Martin combined for 19 of Red Bank’s 23 points in the second half, while eight different players scored during the 27-point first half with Johnny Dengler scoring six points to lead the way.

“They have multiple guys who can shoot the ball and we weren’t doing a good enough job making it tough on them,” Tawiah said. “We went to the three-two, and I thought I could disrupt them at the top of the zone by pushing up on their ball-handlers and shooters and that seemed to work.”

Since losing to Union on. Dec. 23 to drop to 1-1, Matawan has won 10 straight games to settle into the top spot in the Shore Conference Class B North, a half-game ahead of Long Branch (8-2, 5-1).

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“There hasn’t been a team at Matawan playing like this in a long time,” Piscopo said. “It’s been since 1965 that we won a division and now we’re sitting in the top spot. It’s a different feeling than last year when we were the ones going after the teams at the top, but the bottom line is that we’re a better team. If we keep getting better, we think we can keep winning.”


Box Score

Matawan 64, Red Bank 50






Red Bank (7-4, 3-3)






Matawan (11-1, 5-0)







Red Bank (50): Jack Navitsky 2 0-0 5, Johnny Dengler 2 0-0 6, Eddie Hendrex 1 0-0 2, Sadiq Palmer 2 1-2 5, Justin Gilson 2 0-0 4, Anthony Mitchell 5 2-4 15, Corey Martin 4 0-0 9, Jimmy Ferrogine 2 0-1 4, Moses Birch 0 0-0 0, Jesse Mack 0 0-0 0. Totals: 20 3-7 50

Three-pointers: Navitsky, Dengler 2, Mitchell 3, Martin

Fouled Out: Gilson

Matawan (64): Joe Piscopo 4 4-7 14, Jason Dunne 1 7-9 9, Nick Tomkins 2 0-3 4, Austin Planes 2 0-0 4, Chris Tawiah 8 3-5 23, Dritin Gyjrigi 0 0-0 0, Nick Smith 0 0-0 0, Mergim Gyjrigi 4 1-2 10. Totals: 21 15-26 64

Three-pointers: Piscopo 2, Tawiah 4, M. Gyjrigi