December 12, 2018

Emphasizing a High Energy, Up Tempo Approach, PHS Boys’ Hoops Primed for Bounce-Back Season

JAY TRAIN: Princeton High boys’ basketball player Jaylen Johnson heads to the hoop in a game last winter. PHS will he relying on senior forward Johnson to provide inside scoring this winter. The Little Tigers tip off their 2018-19 campaign by playing at Hopewell Valley on December 14. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Coming off a disappointing 4-21 campaign last winter, the Princeton High boys’ basketball team is hungry to get back on the winning track.

“Everyone has come in a little more focused; they are ready,” said PHS Head Coach Pat Noone.

“They want to get back to where we were two years ago (12-14 record) and not last year. It has been high energy. We have some returning guys playing well and the young guys are enjoying it.”

Noone is depending on two of his returning guys, senior Jaylen Johnson and junior Jay Jackson, to provide some punch in the paint at forward.

“Jaylen is getting there; he is coming off a good football season so he is working hard to get in basketball shape,” said Noone, noting that junior Judd Petrone is also in the mix at forward.

“Jay Jackson has really made a turn; he is much better. He has really been performing well. I like the way he is playing; he is taking a leadership role too so that is a real positive. They will be rotating through the post.”

Noone sees his backcourt of senior Brendan Rougas, junior Riley McMahon, junior Jack Suozzi, and junior Gefen Bar-Cohen as a positive for the Little Tigers.

“Brendan is looking good, his shot is looking good,” said Noone. “He is trying to play college ball next year. Riley has taken some steps forward. Jack has been playing really well, he has been a pleasant surprise for us. Gefen has taken great strides from his sophomore to junior year, so I am expecting pretty good things from him.”

With PHS opening its season by playing at Hopewell Valley on December 14, Noone is expecting his team to display an up-tempo style.

“We are doing pretty well in transition on offense,” said Noone. “If we can rebound the ball and get it going, I think we can be in pretty good shape. We want to run and gun a little bit and get up and down the court to get as many shot opportunities as possible.”