Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXV, No. 5
Wednesday, February 2, 2011
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(Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)
WINNING WAYS: Princeton Day School girls’ basketball star Sarah Godwin heads to the basket in recent action. Last week, Godwin scored 16 points to help PDS rally to a 45-42 win at Hun. The Panthers, now 12-4, play at Rutgers Prep on February 4, at Solebury on February 5, and at Moorestown Friends on February 7.

With Godwin Displaying Versatility, Heart, PDS Girls’ Basketball Rallies to Edge Hun

Bill Alden

Although the Princeton Day School and the Hun School are a few miles apart, their girls’ basketball programs have traveled in different circles recently.

PDS has typically played a Prep B schedule while Hun has been a Prep A stalwart over the years. The programs last met in 2008 when Hun beat the Panthers 77-31 in a rare Prep A tourney appearance by PDS.

Despite their infrequent meetings, there was electricity in the air last week at the Hun gym when PDS arrived for a renewal of the rivalry.

“It was very, very intense and we knew we had to come out there and work hard,” said PDS junior forward Sarah Godwin. “They are right down the street from us and we didn’t want to lose to them.”

The Panthers brought some extra motivation into the clash. “We wanted this win for Tiff,” said Godwin, referring to Panther senior center Tiffany Patterson.

“It is her last year and she played them and got beat really bad so we wanted this for her.”

The Panthers showed how much they wanted it in the third quarter as they rebounded from a 27-20 halftime deficit to knot the game at 34-34 heading into the last period.

“I think we were just picking each other up,” said Godwin, referring to the team’s rally after intermission.

“We were telling each other that we really wanted this game and we put that in our heads. We were all confident and we all took good shots.”

Early in the fourth quarter, the Panthers found themselves trailing by four and dug even deeper, producing a 10-2 run on the way to a 45-42 victory. “I think it was heart and fire,” said Godwin. “We really, really worked hard.”

The talented Godwin showed some versatility to go with her competitive fire as she played well in the paint and on the perimeter. She also went 8-for-8 from the free throw line.

“I have been working on being a post player,” said Godwin, who ended up with a game-high 16 points.

“I have been just a guard in AAU. Coach [PDS head coach Mika Ryan] has also been helping me on my form with my free throws because it has been off. I have been basically a lay-up girl recently so it was different today.”

PDS coach Ryan, for her part, liked the way Godwin made a difference in the win over Hun.

“I have tried to make her do some different things; I thought she was great tonight,” asserted Ryan.

“She played the post, she played on the perimeter. She was good on the rebounding. She can be such a complete player with her athleticism. It was nice to see her step up in a big game. It is one thing to do that against a weak opponent; it is another thing to have that performance against a really good team like Hun.”

The Panthers stepped up collectively in the second half as they seized the momentum of the contest.

“It was defense and rebounding; that’s where everything starts,” asserted Ryan, who congratulated her players one by one as they filed out of the locker room.

“I think the defensive adjustments we made really helped us. One of the adjustments we made was to put Sarah on No. 14 (Hun junior star Ashley Ravelli); I thought someone taller and athletic would give her a tougher time. I kept Molly Rubin exclusively on No. 22 (Jackie Mullen). We had to have her in the lineup defensively.”

PDS also displayed the depth of its lineup as sophomore Lauren Johnson and junior Rachel Maddox made key contributions.

“Lauren Johnson never gets the credit due her; she takes good shots and is a very efficient player,” said Ryan, whose team improved to 12-4 with 53-28 win over South Hunterdon last Friday.

“Maddox had a better third and fourth quarter. She was asleep in the first half and I really challenged her at halftime. She is very athletic.”

In order to meet the challenges of the upcoming county and Prep B tournaments, PDS will need even better play from its supporting cast.

“I would like us to develop a little more depth,” said Ryan, whose team plays at Rutgers Prep on February 4, at Solebury on February 5, and at Moorestown Friends on February 7.

“The full court style we play requires more of a bench. Right now, we are barely practicing to keep them fresh, I am pretty happy with where we are.”

Godwin, for her part, thinks happy days are ahead for the Panthers. “We needed this game to get our confidence up,” said Godwin. “We think we are the best right now.”

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