FHS Basketball: Warriors Smother Piscataway, 73-48

Samuele Mattia is fouled as he goes up for a shot during the Warriors’ January 31 game against Piscataway.

The Franklin High School Warriors basketball team extended their winning streak to six on January 31, dominating the Piscataway Superchiefs, 73-48.

The game got off to a slow start, with Piscataway grabbing a short-lived lead.

But the Warriors soon started putting their game together, and left the first quarter with a slim 11-10 lead.

The Warriors had an easier time of it in the second quarter, winning the frame 20-13 and walking off the court with a 31-23 lead.

Franklin put the game away in the third quarter, partly due to the return of Senior Jake Novielli, who ran into foul trouble in the second quarter.

Novielli hit three of four successive 3-pointers in the span of about two minutes.

Novielli praised his teammates for finding him open to take those big shots.

“My thing is to shoot the ball when my teammates can find me, and when I light it up, no one can stop me,” he said.

Novielli said that he works on his downtown shot during summers.

“I go to my trainer every summer and we work on it, we work on other aspects of the game, too,” he said. “I have to give it to my teammates, they create shots, playing their own game lets me find my own game.”

Novielli said he wasn’t happy about getting into foul trouble so early in the game, but found his touch during the halftime shootaround.

“I just needed one to get in,” he said. “As soon as one got in, I knew the rhythm and I just kept shooting.”

Franklin won that quarter, 23-10, extending their lead to 54-33.

The Warriors did not let up in the final frame, outscoring Piscataway 19-15.

Junior Elisha Brown led all scorers with 16 points. He also pulled down 13 rebounds, seven assists and four blocks.

Senior Jahlil Williams scored 15 points, with three rebounds, a block and a steal.

Senior Cam Snowden scored 14 points, with three rebounds, two assists and two steals.

Novielli scored 12 points – nine of them from downtown – and had three rebounds, two assists and a steal.

Senior Darnell Marche scored seven points, with four assists, a rebound and two steals; Senior Daniel Okafor scored four points and had six rebounds and a block, and Senior Samuel Mattia scored three points, with two rebounds and a steal.

Junior Cam Brown rounded out the scoring for the Warriors, with two points, a rebound, six assists and three steals.

Noviello is “a hell of a shooter,” Warriors Coach Tony Mento said.

With Noviello on the sideline after his foul trouble, Mento said, “Sammy Mattia and Jahlil Williams and Daniel Okafor came in in the second quarter, held the fort down and did a great job, and Jake does what you expect him to do.”

“I have to give a lot of credit to our guards because they found him and they fed him,” he said. “It takes a lot for a high school kid to say, hey, my teammate’s hot, let me give it to him.”

“Our team is very unselfish … most of our baskets are assisted baskets and they play selfless basketball,” Mento said. “I’m real proud of them.”

Speaking of the winning streak, Mento said the team faced tough opponents early on “on purpose. I think it really challenged them.”

“We’re peaking at the right time; I just hope it’s not too early,” he said.

With the win, the Warriors improve to 4-4 in the Skyland Conference and 12-8 overall.

Here are some scenes from the game:

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