Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIV, No. 52
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Wednesday, December 29, 2010
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HOLDING FIRM: Stuart Country Day basketball player Jen Diaz, right, and a Monroe player fight for the ball last Wednesday. Stuart lost the battle as it fell 53-35 to Monroe. The Tartans, now 3-1, are on holiday break and will resume action with a game at Northern Burlington on January 5.

Shorthanded Stuart Hoops Loses to Monroe; but Learns Valuable Lessons Through Defeat

Bill Alden

While Tony Bowman was happy to see his Stuart Country Day School basketball team jump out to a halftime lead against visiting Monroe High last Wednesday, he wasn’t comfortable about the situation.

Missing two key players, Jasmine Smarr and Parris Branker, Stuart head coach Bowman knew his team faced an uphill battle despite holding a 24-19 advantage at intermission.

“The kids weren’t as confident as I would have liked them to be,” said Bowman, noting that his daughter, senior guard Amber Bowman, scored 20 of Stuart’s 24 first-half points.

“I would like to get everybody to help support the offense and not always look back for Amber. Today Jasmine wasn’t there and Parris wasn’t there, so the offense runs a little differently. You have another kid who can shoot a ‘3’ and you have another senior who is a point guard if they are there.”

In the second half, the Tartans built their lead to 29-21 before running out of gas. Monroe reeled off a 13-0 run to end the third quarter and never looked back on the way to a 53-35 win.

“I thought we played a strong first half, but we got tired,” said Bowman, reflecting on the loss which left the Tartans at 3-1.

“Amber must have taken 15 or 20 shots in the half just to keep us in it. They put us in a 1-3-1, which was a good move on their part, but we couldn’t make the adjustment. When you put the 1-3-1 on and double Amber, someone else had to come out and make the jumper or the layup.”

While Bowman would have preferred to see his team improve to 4-0, he believed that the game served as a valuable teaching moment for his squad.

“Mentally, a lot of kids stepped up; but physically, they didn’t show up,” said Bowman, who got 25 points from his daughter but had no other player with more than four.

“When we sit down and talk about what we did and didn’t do, I ask them if you were the coach what would I think of you right now? And these kids answered honestly about their performance and what they should have done and what they didn’t do. So this is a milestone for me. When a kid can tell you what they did wrong and what they should have done, I have done my job.”

Bowman is confident his players will apply those lessons. “Sometimes you need to lose to win,” asserted Bowman. “Today we lost. But I won some of the kids’ attitudes and intensity about playing defense. And that is all I really care about. We played hard and that means something to them.”

With a tougher schedule and a shorter holiday break than in past seasons, Bowman is looking forward to seeing his team play hard when the 2011 portion of the schedule rolls around.

“This is the fourth team that we have played that I had never played before,” said Bowman, whose team is next in action when it plays at Northern Burlington on January 5. “We get a week off and then we’re right back at.”

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