TINTON FALLS - Junior guards Mike Revello and Carson Francisco personify the blue-collar mentality that the Barnegat boys basketball team has developed over the last three seasons and after a .500 campaign and another losing season, the hard work is now translating to winning.

Francisco and Revello combined for 34 points Wednesday night as Barnegat pulled away for a 61-45 road win over Monmouth Regional, the fifth straight win for the Bengals during an 8-2 start to the season.

"We were all a bunch of sophomores last year, so experience has been the big thing," Revello said of the team's fast start. "We've been on the court a lot as a group and just that time together, learning how to play with every other guy on the floor has made a big difference this year."

Francisco scored nine of his game-high 18 points in the first quarter while Revello poured in nine of his 16 in the fourth. Sophomore Sean Morris and junior Alex Grogan also reached double-figure scoring, with Morris tallying 11 points and Grogan pouring in 10.

Carson Francisco (left) and Mike Revello have led Barnegat's 8-2 start to the season. (Photo by Matt Manley)
Carson Francisco (left) and Mike Revello have led Barnegat's 8-2 start to the season. (Photo by Matt Manley)

The Bengals shook off a sluggish start and a rocky close to the first half in time to regroup for the second half. After trailing 23-22 at the intermission, Barnegat outscored Monmouth 14-3 in the third to seize control of the game. They also recovered from an early 8-2 hole by scoring the final 10 points of the first quarter, seven of which came from Francisco.

"Coach (Mike Puorro) talked to us at halftime, although I don't know if I would say he was talking," Francisco joked. "He wasn't happy and we knew we weren't playing as well as we should. He tried to slow everything down and it helped."

"We were just really sloppy in the first half," Revello said. "The effort was there, but we needed to focus a lot more on execution."

Wednesday's win propels Barnegat into one of its most crucial stretches of the season for a young team that does not start any seniors. The team's next eight games begin with a Thursday showdown against Point Boro and also includes rematches against Lakewood and Donovan Catholic.

"(Thursday) is a huge game for us," Revello said. "A win would put us second place in B South, which is right where we want to be right now."

The combined record of the teams from N.J. that Barnegat has defeated this year is just 18-45, with Donovan Catholic being the only team with a winning record the Bengals have beaten. On the plus side, the Bengals took six-time defending B South champion Lakewood to the wire and lost to Rumson - the No. 7 team in the Shore Sports Network Top 10 - on the road.

"We had chances to win those games and I don't think we even realized it until coach talked to us after," Francisco said. "Once he told us, 'You should have beat them,' we were kind of like, 'Oh yeah, that's true.' I think the difference is we're going to go into these games believing we can win and that if we play well, we should win."


Box Score

Barnegat 61, Monmouth 45

Barnegat (8-2)1210142561
Monmouth (2-7)81531945

Barnegat (61): Mike Revello 5 5-7 16, Carson Francisco 6 5-9 18, Sean Morris 4 3-3 11, Parth Patel 1 2-2 4, Alex Grogan 2 4-8 10, David Orozco 0 0-0 0, Coleman 1 0-0 2, Finucan 0 0-0 0, McNulty 0 0-0 0, Krey 0 0-0 0, Dambroski 0 0-0 0. Totals: 19 19-29 61

Three-pointers: Revello, Franciscio, Grogan 2

Monmouth (45): Tyler Hawkins 6 1-1 13, Ian Fitzgerald 1 2-2 4, Nick Cirlincione 6 2-3 15, Elijah Walker 4 2-2 10, Myles Owens 1 0-0 3, Alix Eugene 0 0-0 0, Jalen Gates 0 0-0 0, Deroski 0 0-2 0, Tyler Rebman 0 0-0 0. Totals: 18 7-10 45

Three-pointers: Cirlincione, Owens

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