Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIV, No. 4
 
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
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DRIVING FORCE: Princeton High boys’ basketball star Skye Ettin drives to the hoop in a game earlier this season. Last Friday, Ettin matched his career-high, firing in 30 points as PHS topped Robbinsville 77-39. The Little Tigers, who improved to 6-5 with the win, host Steinert on January 29 before playing at Voorhees on January 30 and at Ewing on February 2.

With Ettin Stepping Up in Crunch Time, PHS Boys’ Basketball Making Progress

Bill Alden

As the most battle-tested player on the Princeton High boys’ basketball team, Skye Ettin looks to step up in crunch time.

“I try to help the team as much as possible,” said the 6’5 Ettin, who plays both guard and forward for PHS.

“I would definitely like the ball at the end of the game since I am a senior and I have been there.”

With PHS trailing powerful Trenton 50-37 coming into the fourth quarter last week, Ettin took the Little Tigers on his back.

Slashing to the basket and hitting jump shots, Etting scored 10 points as the Little Tigers tried to mount a rally. Ettin’s heroics weren’t enough, though, as PHS fell 70-55 to the Tornadoes.

Afterward, Ettin said he was trying to exert some senior leadership down the stretch of the game.

“I felt a little pressure to get a win and I started to shoot a little more,” said Ettin, who ended up with 16 points on the evening.

“No one wants to lose the game. The shots happened to fall so I kept shooting.”

The Little Tigers showed their inexperience in the loss to the Tornadoes as they dug themselves an early 16-4 hole by committing some turnovers and missing several lay-ups.

While Ettin acknowledged that the Little Tigers didn’t follow the game plan in the first quarter, he liked the way they fought back.

“That’s definitely not how we talked about starting the game,” said Ettin.

“The game is not over until the buzzer sounds. We wanted to keep playing and try to make a run and make it a game again. We got down by five and then we started to trade baskets with them. We had them on their heels but a couple of good plays by them and a couple of dumb mistakes by us and we couldn’t get over the hump.”

The veteran Ettin, who helped PHS reach the Central Jersey Group III sectional final last season, is doing his best to help the Little Tigers play a smarter brand of basketball.

“We have a very young team and I am trying to be a good role model for the guys,” said Ettin, who set a good example last Friday night as he matched his career-high, firing in 30 points to help PHS top Robbinsville 77-39.

“I am trying to play the right way and do the right things off the court, hoping that they will learn.”

PHS head coach Jason Carter saw the Trenton game as a learning experience for his callow squad.

“We have some young guys in there and they haven’t calmed their nerves at the start of the game,” said Carter, whose team moved to 6-5 with its win over Robbinsville.

“Once we got into it, it was an even game. We were down 15 early in the second quarter and we lost by 15 so it was an even game after that. We just turned up our defensive intensity and started concentrating. Once we got into the flow of things we were OK.”

Carter is confident that Ettin will be more and more in the flow of things as the season unfolds.

“Skye had been in a little bit of a funk but he is coming out of it,” added Carter.

“He hit some big shots for us tonight. If he can start doing that in the first quarter, we are going to be in good shape.”

With star forward Eamon Cuddy currently sidelined with an ankle injury, Carter is going to need senior frontcourt performers Thatcher Foster and Jordan Metro to come up big.

“Metro and Foster are good friends off the court and when they are on the court, you can see their chemistry,” said Carter.

“They are sharing the ball pretty good and they cover each other’s backs on defense. They are solid guys.”

Even in defeat to Trenton, Carter believes that PHS showed signs that it can develop into a solid club this winter.

“I thought at times tonight, we played really well,” said Carter, whose team hosts Steinert on January 29 before playing at Voorhees on January 30 and at Ewing on February 2.

“We played some of our best basketball of the season. The team is coming around; you can see that we are improving. We just have to get rid of the small mistakes, the mental mistakes, and show some more poise at the offensive end of the floor.

Ettin, for his part, believes the Little Tigers have the right mentality to keep progressing.

“It’s a young team so there are going to be mistakes but the one thing that is constant is the effort and work ethic we put in,” said Ettin.

“We definitely have the talent, we just have to put it together. It will take a little while but we have to find it soon. Hopefully we can go into the playoffs strong and make a run like we did last year.”

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