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Vol. LXIII, No. 51
 
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
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SURE START Princeton High boys’ basketball player Eamon Cuddy goes to the hoop last Friday in PHS’s 42-39 win over Lawrence High in the season opener for both teams. Junior forward Cuddy contributed 10 points in the victory as he made his first-ever start for the Little Tigers.

Cuddy Makes Solid Debut in Starting Lineup; Helping PHS Boys’ Hoops to Opening Day Win

Bill Alden

Eamon Cuddy was a little shaky as he took the court last Friday to make his first career start for the Princeton High boys’ basketball team.

“To be honest, I was very nervous,” said junior forward Cuddy, who spent most of last winter on JV before getting called up to the varsity for post-season play.

“I tried to just focus on what I had to do; I’d be lying if I said I was completely confident.”

The 6’7 forward, though, quickly gained some confidence, scoring seven points in the first half to help the Little Tigers take a 28-15 halftime lead over visiting Lawrence High.

“I had a lot of support from my teammates,” said Cuddy. “I had a lot of good set-ups for my buckets.”

In the third quarter, PHS had trouble getting buckets as it scored just four points with Lawrence notching 15 to make the game into a nailbiter.

“We were just getting some open shots but a couple of threes just rolled in and out,” said Cuddy, reflecting on the third quarter. “Things weren’t going our way and then we started to get a little flustered.”

In the fourth quarter, Cuddy helped the Little Tigers get back on an even keel, hitting a key basket and a free throw as PHS held on for a 42-39 victory.

Cuddy was proud to come through at crunch time. “I felt really good about hitting that shot,” said Cuddy, who ended the night with 10 points. “It was a confidence booster for me. I think we were tied or down one at that point.”

Coming through with a 7-2 run down the stretch was a confidence booster for PHS collectively.

“After a little bit, we started to calm down and we finally came with a win,” said Cuddy. “I think it shows us that we have a lot of talent and potential but also we have a lot of room for improvement.”

As he focuses on improving, Cuddy is looking to become an inside presence along the lines of the graduated A. J. Dowers.

“I think I really need to work on my play to get as big as Dowers,” said Cuddy. “It’s a work in progress; I am doing as much as I can for the team right now.”

PHS head coach Jason Carter likes what he is getting from Cuddy. “At times in practice, Eamon is our best shooter,” said Carter. “He can get hot; he can definitely stroke it. He has some areas to work on but I think he can come in and give us some solid minutes and fill that big man role that A.J. Dowers did for us last year.”

Carter saw his team’s play down the stretch against Lawrence as a solid display of character.

“It’s obvious that we can put it together; it’s also obvious that we aren’t there yet,” said Carter, noting that his team shot just 12-of-27 from the free throw line.

“We have some things that we have to work on. The guys work hard, they are willing to learn. What we proved today is that when we are playing good basketball, we can be pretty darn good. At the same time, we have enough courage and character to win a close game.”

PHS got some good basketball from another first-time starter, sophomore guard Devon Black.

“He’s a young talent; he is hungry,” said Carter of Black who had eight points on the evening.

“He wants to be good; it’s a pleasure to coach him. He has to learn from his mistakes and continue to improve.”

Carter got pleasure from seeing senior star Skye Ettin come up big in the fourth quarter, making several clutch shots on his way to a team-high 14 points. “He aspires to play at the next level,” said Carter of the 6’4 Ettin.

“In order to do that, you have to perform at this level and make plays down the stretch. He made some plays tonight and I think in the future he can make even more plays.”

Cuddy, for his part, thinks that coming through Friday portends a bright future for the Little Tigers.

“I think it is a lot better to start on a good note like that,” said Cuddy, who will look to help Little Tigers stay on the winning track when they compete in the Eastern States Catholic Invitational Tournament at Trenton Catholic from December 26-29.

“The game was down to the wire; one shot could have changed the game drastically. Just the way we came out with a win, I think it will help us in the long run.”

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