HALEDON – Rich Sponzilli didn’t expect this.
Manchester’s boys basketball coach envisioned a respectable season, perhaps slightly better than the 12-12 record the Falcons produced last season. Improvement and maturity among a solid core of players have made Manchester one of the NJIC’s top teams, though.
Alex Morales, a 6-foot-6 junior forward, and senior shooting guard Robert Williams (25 points Thursday) have been the foremost factors in Manchester’s marked improvement. Morales averages 18 points and nearly 14 rebounds per game for the Falcons, who are ranked No. 18 in The Record Top 25.
“He’s more confident this year,” Manchester senior guard Brad Gaffney said regarding Morales, who had 24 points Thursday night. “He knows what he can do. Last year he didn’t think he was capable of doing what he could. Now that he’s done it, he understands that nobody can stop him.”
Morales has been more aggressive offensively and focused on fundamentals, rather than making flashy plays.
“Last year I was a little timid,” Morales said. “This year I’m just playing. I’m just letting it out.”
He also has been freed up inside because Williams has emerged as one of North Jersey’s top three-point shooters.
Williams, who’s averaging 16.8 points per game, played point guard last season and earlier this season, but senior Keshon Pierson became the team’s point guard following the fifth game this season. Manchester is 11-0 since Pierson entered the starting lineup.
To continue reading story: http://www.northjersey.com/sports/h-s-boys-basketball-manchester-is-winning-games-respect-1.1265791