Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIII, No. 7
 
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
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(Photo by Bill Allen/NJ SportAction)
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RARE GEM: Stuart Country Day junior guard Diamond Lewis races up the floor in a recent game. Last Wednesday, Lewis poured in a game-high 29 points to help fourth-seeded Stuart edge No. 5 Princeton Day School in the opening round of the state Prep B Tournament. The Tartans will face top-seeded Rutgers Prep in the Prep B semis on February 22. In addition, Stuart is playing in the Mercer County Tournament where it was seeded ninth and was slated to play No. 8 WW/P-N on February 17 in the first round.

Lewis Shines Brightly for Stuart Hoops as Tartans Edge PDS in Prep B Opener

Bill Alden

Diamond Lewis made no effort to hide her excitement after the fourth-seeded Stuart Country Day basketball team edged No. 5 Princeton Day School in the opening round of the state Prep B tournament.

As the final seconds ticked off the clock last Wednesday in Stuart’s 48-44 victory, junior point guard Lewis flung the ball up to the rafters of the gym to start the post-game celebration.

With the Tartans having fallen to Great Road rival PDS a week earlier in a regular season contest, it was sweet for Lewis and her teammates to knock the Panthers out of the state tournament.

“We were definitely fired up; we knew we had to win this game, no ifs, ands, or buts,” said Lewis, who had helped Stuart to a win over PDS in early January in the teams’ first regular season meeting. “We had to come hard; we should not have lost last week. We were determined to win tonight.”

In the early going, it looked like Stuart might be too fired up for the rematch as it misfired on offense and trailed 21-18 at halftime.

In the third quarter, however, Stuart’s up-tempo style changed the momentum of the contest as the Tartans outscored PDS 19-13 in the period to take a lead it would never relinquish.

Lewis, who scored eight points in Stuart’s third quarter run, could feel the PDS players getting on heels as the Tartans put the heat on.

“We had a couple of runs and we kept it going; the momentum was on our side,” recalled Lewis, who ended the day with a game-high 29 points. “They were calling timeouts; we were just pushing the ball.”

In Lewis’ view, the Stuart rally was triggered by a focus on defense. “We played great defense; we stopped them on their plays,” said Lewis.

“Tiff [Tiffany Patterson] didn’t have that many points; No. 23 [Sarah Godwin] didn’t have as many threes and we got No. 4 [Janie Smukler] in foul trouble.”

Stuart head coach Tony Bowman concurred with Lewis’ analysis. “Our defense was sound the entire time,” asserted Bowman, whose team will face top-seeded Rutgers Prep in the Prep B semis on February 22.

“We slowed down their big scorer Tiff; I thought Sarah [Schulte] did a great job with help from Amber Bowman and Jules Healy. I think we outrebounded them for the first time; usually we don’t do that well rebounding.”

The Tartans also had to do well offensively to get past the Panthers. “It was just being more aggressive shooting,” said Bowman, whose team shot well last Thursday as it cruised past North Plainfield 65-39 and improved to 12-8. “We were shooting poorly and I said shoot out of it.”

Bowman knows he is lucky to have Lewis shooting for his team. “She made a difference,” said Bowman, whose club is also playing in the Mercer County Tournament where it was seeded ninth and was slated to play No. 8 WW/P-N on February 17 in the first round.

“She’s a leader; that’s what she is supposed to do. She picked up the pace when everybody else was a tad slow. She dribbled inside and hit Amber for 3s. Those are the things that good point guards do and that’s what she did today.”

Lewis, for her part, is looking to do more of the same as the Tartans continue their post-season run.

“We have got to keep the intensity going,” asserted Lewis. “We are going to focus on one game at a time and go day by day.”

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