Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIII, No. 50
 
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
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METRO LINE: Princeton High boys’ basketball player Jordan Metro lines up a free throw in action last season. The Little Tigers will be depending on Metro to provide some inside punch this winter as they look for an encore to last year’s run to the sectional finals. The Little Tigers tip off their 2009-10 season by hosting Lawrence High on December 18.

Buoyed by Last Winter’s Post-Season Run PHS Boys’ Hoops Exuding Confidence

Bill Alden

Last winter, the Princeton High boys’ basketball team caught fire at the right time.

Raising the level of its game down the stretch, PHS started the post-season by making a deep run in the Mercer County Tournament, reaching the semifinals.

Bringing momentum into the state tournament, the Little Tigers began play in the Central Jersey Group III sectional by topping Point Pleasant Beach and then stunned top-seeded Monmouth Regional to make the program’s first sectional final since 1994.

Although PHS fell to powerful Neptune in the sectional title game, the memorable tournament run has given the team’s returning players a lift as they get ready for the 2009-10 campaign.

“They came in with confidence and a feeling of accomplishment,” said PHS head coach Jason Carter referring to his core of veterans who helped the Little Tigers go 18-7 last season.

“The attitude has been great; they have come in ready to work hard and work together.”

As the Little Tigers open their season by hosting Lawrence High this Friday evening, they will be looking for senior star Skye Ettin to give them good work all over the court.

“We are still trying to figure out his role,” said Carter of the slashing 6’4 swing player.

“We can build other guys around him. Skye can play the ‘1’ position and bring the ball up the court or he can guard the other team’s center. We have him handling the ball more and also posting up when the opportunity presents itself. He can hit the open shot.”

Carter is looking forward to the opportunity to deploy his trio of talented frontcourt performers, seniors Thatcher Foster and Jordan Metro together with junior Eamon Cuddy.

“Foster is a lot more confident; he is coming off a state championship season in soccer,” said Carter.

“He is a good finisher; he has good vision and is a good passer. We look to get him the ball because he can penetrate and pass or penetrate and shoot. Metro worked all fall in the weight room. He is one of the strongest and fastest guys on the team. He is a tough kid who does the dirty work; he gets offensive rebounds and boxes out. Eamon Cuddy is impressing us with his post moves. He is 6’6 or 6’7 and he has a good frame; he is quick for a guy that size.”

The combination of Foster, Metro, and Cuddy gives Carter plenty of options up front.

“With the three of them, we can mix and match,” said Carter. “Each one of those guys gives us a different look. All together, they are very versatile. They do all the basic things.”

PHS features plenty of versatility in the backcourt with senior Devon Holman and sophomores Devon Black and Eric Shorter.

“Holman does a good job of running the offense; he is trying to lead us,” said Carter.

“Black can play the point or shooting guard; we will look at the situation and matchups. Shorter is really athletic and fast with long arms. He has a good basketball IQ.”

The X-factor for the Little Tigers could be senior guard Josh Gordon, a star running back for the PHS football team who is currently sidelined with an ankle injury he suffered on the gridiron this fall.

“Josh has a lot of experience and speed; he brings a lot of toughness,” asserted Carter.

“He is probably out until after Christmas. We want him to be at full speed when he comes back. He has been working out and shooting and looks good.”

When analyzing his roster, Carter sees plenty of toughness and speed. “The top eight guys are interchangeable,” said Carter, who credited assistant coach Bobby Davison with doing yeoman’s work this fall in getting the players ready for the season.

“If we want to start fast, we can do that with the guards. If we want to start big, we can do that too.”

In order to have another big winter, the Little Tigers are going have to show some character to go with their athleticism.

“I see this team playing a lot of close games,” said Carter. “If we keep our composure through adversity and challenges, we could have a good season. Last year, we didn’t learn that until the state tournament.”

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