Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIV, No. 6
 
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
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PASSING JUDGMENT: Princeton High boys’ basketball senior forward Jordan Metro looks to make a pass in a game earlier this season. Last Monday, Metro scored 7 points but it wasn’t enough as PHS fell 42-38 to Princeton Day School to move to 9-7 on the season.

Battle-Tested by Early-Season Struggles, PHS Boys’ Hoops Pumped Up for Playoffs

Bill Alden

It was a game that the Princeton High boys’ basketball team probably would have lost a month ago.

Last week, PHS found itself training 27-24 at powerful Ewing by the time halftime rolled around.

Displaying composure and making some clutch plays, PHS overcame the halftime deficit and pulled away to a 50-42 victory.

“The word of the night was poise,” said PHS head coach Jason Carter. “Once we had the first half, we realized that we could play with them. In the second half, we kept our poise and we made shots.”

Character was another word that came to Carter’s mind in assessing the triumph.

“We had a lot of adversity,” said Carter, who got 12 points from senior star Skye Ettin with Jordan Metro contributing 11 points and 11 rebounds.

“Devon Holman fouled out early in the second half and Davon Black hurt his wrist. Josh Gordon was playing with a hurt knee and he was rusty in the first half. Eric Shorter came in and gave us some big minutes. I think the second half could be a turning point for us.”

The Little Tigers have been showing a battling spirit all season. “This team had to fight,” asserted Carter. “We started 2-4 and we didn’t know what direction we were heading. We fought hard to get to .500 and then we had a big overtime win against Hamilton.”

In Carter’s view, PHS has gotten into a groove after surviving that rocky start.

“We are playing better and better; different guys are stepping up at different times,” said Carter.

“They realize what we might need in a game and they are doing it. It could be Skye running the break or Thatcher [Foster] making shots or Jordan getting rebounds.”

Senior star Ettin has been stepping up in a big way recently, scoring 30 points in a 66-44 win over Steinert and 21 in the victory over Hamilton. “We are trying to figure out how best to use his skill set,” said Carter of Ettin.

“He is an excellent shooter and a good scorer. We need the other guys to step up because the other teams are geared up to stop Skye and they are double teaming him.”

Having Gordon back in action has made PHS a tougher team. “Josh helps us with ballhandling and he makes us quicker,” said Carter of Gordon, a star running back for the PHS football team.

“He helps us on defense. He can handle the ball like a point guard and he rebounds like a power forward.”

With the Mercer County Tournament (MCT) and the state tourney on the horizon, Carter thought it helped his team to battle cross-town rival Princeton Day School last Monday.

“That’s a rivalry game; any time it is more than a game, it is a good test,” said Carter, whose team fell 42-38 to PDS to move to 9-7 on the season. “There is pride on the line in that game.”

The Little Tigers have been seeded fourth in the MCT and will host No. 11 Hopewell Valley on February 16 in an opening round contest.

Coming off a post-season run last winter that saw the Little Tigers advance to the Central Jersey Group III sectional finals, Carter believes this year’s team could add a nice chapter to the program’s proud history.

“We are starting to build a sense of confidence,” said Carter. “We need to play our game, play defense, rebound, and make free throws. If we do that, we could go farther than last year.”

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