Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIII, No. 26
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
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MAN DEFENSE: Princeton High boys’ basketball star Skye Ettin deals with the pressure in recent action in the Princeton Recreation Department Summer Men’s Basketball League. By battling more experienced players, Ettin and his teammates are hoping to build on the success the program enjoyed last winter when it went 18-7 and advanced to the Group III Central Jersey sectional finals.

PHS Boys’ Hoops Toiling in Summer League Laying Foundation for More Winter Success

Bill Alden

Last March, the Princeton High School (PHS) boys’ basketball team produced an electrifying state tournament run that captured the imagination of the school and turned heads in local hoops circles.

The fifth-seeded Little Tigers went on the road to beat No. 4 Point Pleasant 47-35 in the opening round of the tourney and then pulled off a shocker with a 55-46 win at top-seeded Monmouth Regional in the sectional semifinals.

While PHS ultimately fell to third-seeded Neptune 72-44 in the Group III Central Jersey sectional final, the team’s scintillating stretch drive left a slew of indelible memories.

The foundation for the success last winter was laid in June and July when the PHS players competed as the Princeton Youth Sports (PYS) entry in the Princeton Recreation Department Summer Men’s Basketball League.

While PYS won only three games in the summer circuit, the players gained some hard lessons from playing against the adult players they faced on the Community Park courts.

With the memories of last winter’s successful 18-7 season still fresh in their minds, the PHS players are paying their dues again this summer in the men’s league.

The Little Tigers have also taken part in a team camp at Rider and are playing in a summer high school league based at WW/P-S.

PHS head coach Jason Carter said his players are happily foregoing summer fun to sweat things out in the blacktop battles waged at Community Park.

“It is what the seniors and captains wanted to do,” said Carter, whose team is being led by rising seniors Skye Ettin, Josh Gordon, Thatcher Foster, Devon Holman, and Jordan Metro.

“They had such a great experience last year, the school was behind them. The want to have a similar experience so they are willing to sacrifice their time this summer.”

Last Friday, PHS alum Carter enjoyed the experience of coaching against his former mentor Doug Snyder who brought his Allentown High team to town for an exhibition game with the PYS squad.

“It’s always a pleasure to coach against a legendary coach like Doug Snyder,” asserted Carter, whose team was ahead 18-10 in the first half before the game was washed out by a thunderstorm. “He has taught me so much about the game; it’s always a challenge.”

With school finally out, Carter’s players can focus on meeting the challenges they will face over the rest of the summer.

“We have improved since Monday; the guys are moving the ball a little better,” said Carter, whose team fell 41-31 to the Bank of Princeton last Monday night to drop to 0-3 in the men’s league.

“We are going to take some lumps but hopefully throughout the summer we can continue to get better.”

Carter noted that such young players as Eric Shorter, Dave Maselli, Matt Hoffman, Terrence Sobinow, and Ben Harrison are making strides.

In Carter’s view Ettin and Gordon are setting a good example for their younger teammates.

“They have been committed; they are shooting when they get a chance,” added Carter. “I have seen them playing on their own and they are getting better everyday.”

As PHS demonstrated last season, such daily improvement can yield some nice dividends come March.

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