Freehold Township High School has five boys’ basketball players who can score double digit points on any given night.
Starters Greg Billups, Cristian Corcione, Zach Orrico, Seth Meisner and Zach Barilka all started last year, too. They are also all athletic enough to get to the basket and skilled enough to make outside shots.
“It’s a balanced team,” said Freehold Township coach Brian Golub. “We’ll try to find the hot hand.”
The Patriots are 3-0 this winter, beating Howell High School, 58-46, on Dec. 14, Freehold High School, 68-35, on Dec. 18 and Long Branch High School, 56-35, on Dec. 20.
In their victory over Howell, the Patriots had three hot hands. Barilka (18), Billups (12) and Corcione (12) combined for 42 points.
In their triumph over Freehold, the Pats had a different leading scorer, Meisner, who dropped 15 points. They also found a new third leading scorer in Orrico, who recorded nine points.
Freehold Township is living up to its balanced reputation so far.
It has also excelled on defense, pressuring opponents into misses and turnovers.
“We believe in pressuring the ball and running up and down as fast as we can,” Golub said. “Four of our starters all moved up to junior varsity as freshmen and have been part of our system since freshmen year. They know the system pretty well.”
In Freehold Township’s starting lineup, Billups, a 6-5 forward, is counted on to rebound.
Corcione and Orrico share ball handling duties in the backcourt. As scorers, Corcione is more of a driver and Orrico is more of a shooter.
Barilka is 6-2 and physical, so he guard’s the opponent’s big man.
Meisner plays on the wing and defends wings, too.
After more than a season of playing together, the group has good chemistry.
“The chemistry so far through our scrimmages and opening night has been really good,” Golub said. “You don’t get that a lot at the high school level, the unselfishness and senior leadership. I’m hoping that helps us win some games.”
Freehold Township’s bench will also help it win games.
Kevin Kilinskas, Matt Santangelo, Greg Solla and Jayce Schapiro add shooting, athleticism and defense. They are two way players, like their starting teammates. Kilinskas, Santangelo and Solla all drilled a three pointer in the Patriots’ victory over Freehold.
Max Gluck, a 6-5 athlete, Joe Lardaro, a 6-4 athlete, and Jeremy Thorn, a 6-2 bruiser, contribute to Freehold Township’s rebounding, defense and post scoring.
Freehold Township only went 9-13 last year, but most of these players got valuable experience. Eight of Golub’s 10 rotation players are back, including all five starters.
Between experience, talent and chemistry, the Patriots should improve their record this year. They might even do more than that.
Golub expects to compete for the Shore Conference’s A North Division title, make the Shore Conference Tournament and the NJSIAA Central Jersey, Group 3 sectional tournament.
“Then it’s a matter of getting hot at the right time. We should definitely improve on 9-13,” Golub said. “We got the experience now. Opening night was a nice victory. It’s always nice when you open with a victory.”