Vol. LXIII, No. 11
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
(Photo by Bill Allen/NJ SportAction)caption:
GROWTH SPURT: Stuart Country Day basketball junior center Sarah Schulte prepares to take a free throw in a game this season. Schulte grew into an inside force this winter for the Tartans, averaging 7.7 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 3.0 blocked shots a game to help Stuart finish 14-10.
After getting knocked out of the Mercer County Tournament (MCT) and the state Prep B tourney in the space of three days, the Stuart County Day basketball team couldve gone through the motions as it ended the season by hosting Princeton High.
Instead, the Tartans came ready to play in the MCT consolation contest against PHS, displaying exquisite offensive balance in cruising to a 59-42 win over the Little Tigers.
Stuart got 14 points apiece from Diamond Lewis, Amber Bowman, and Jasmine Smarr in the win, with Sarah Schulte chipping in 11 as the Tartans ended the season with a 14-10 record.
Tartan head coach Tony Bowman was proud of the way his team ended things on a high note.
That was our best game of the season, asserted Bowman in assessing the February 24 battle of crosstown rivals. Everybody was touching the ball and getting eight or 10 shots. We played good defense the whole way through.
In losing 63-42 to Hamilton in the MCT quarters and 69-44 to eventual champion Rutgers Prep in the Prep B semis, the Tartans didnt get that balance or consistency.
Give Hamilton credit, they are a good team but we just didnt shoot well that game, said Bowman.
It was just one of those games where the ball was just rimming out on every shot. Rutgers Prep is bigger than us at every position, both in terms of height and weight. Amber and Diamond were our only two scorers in that game. We cant beat a team like that with only two people scoring.
While the Tartans produced some highlight moments this winter including a dramatic come-from-behind win over WW/P-N in the opening round of the MCT and a hard-fought triumph over Princeton Day School in the Prep B tourney, Bowman had hoped for more.
I thought we underachieved a little bit; we could have done better, acknowledged Bowman.
We were just not as consistent as we should have been. We could have won 17 or 18 games.
Stuarts young players showed plenty of game with dazzling junior point guard Lewis leading the way with 18.9 points, 3.2 assists, and 3.7 steals a game.
Sophomore guard Bowman chipped in 15.3 points a game together with three steals and two assists while Smarr averaged 8.6 points a contest. Junior center Schulte made big strides, averaging 7.7 points, 8.2 rebounds, and three blocked shots.
Bowman is confident that his players can develop the consistency needed to get the most of their potential.
I am happy about the future, the core of the team is coming back, said Bowman.
Everyone is going to be playing somewhere this summer. For us to be more competitive, our role players have to be as strong as the other teams role players. They need to be able to come in and contribute.
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