January 16, 2019

Senior Star Devine Displaying Versatility, Helping PHS Girls’ Basketball to 8-3 Start

IN SYNC: Princeton High girls’ basketball player Erin Devine puts up a shot in a game earlier this season. Senior star Devine scored 17 points in a losing cause as PHS fell 40-37 to Hillsborough last Saturday. The Little Tigers, who moved to 8-3 with the setback, play at Allentown on January 18 and at Nottingham on January 22. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

As the Princeton High girls’ basketball team hosted Hightstown last week, it didn’t waste any time setting the tone.

Excelling at both ends of the court, PHS jumped out to an 11-0 lead in the January 8 contest.

“I don’t think we played our best on Saturday against New Egypt (a 32-13 win on January 5) so coming in we thought we were just going to put our best foot forward,” said PHS senior forward and team co-captain Erin Devine.

“We wanted to get going in the beginning to get momentum and keep going from there. We definitely wanted to get to the line more this game and we wanted to get layups.”

The Little Tigers built a 31-9 halftime lead and weathered a brief Hightstown rally to pull away to a 46-21 victory.

“They definitely had a run in the third quarter,” said Devine.“We pulled it back together at the end and we were able to finish the game strong.”

Devine produced a strong performance against Hightstown, ending with a game-high 14 points along with 12 rebounds. “My teammates did a great job of finding me,” said Devine. “Olivia [Intartaglia] had some great penetration. It is a lot easier to shoot when your teammates draw the other defenders.”

The team’s multi-faceted attack makes it hard to defend. “We have a lot of versatility,” asserted Devine, who scored 17 points as PHS fell 40-37 to Hillsborough last Saturday and moved to 8-3.

“Catherine [Dyevich] is really hard to guard; she is so dominant inside but she can also pull out for the three. Anna and Olivia [Intartaglia], the twins, do a great job of getting to the basket. Anna is a phenomenal shooter. Shaylah [Marciano] finds people, she can come down the floor, really push it, and hit the girl running down the court.”

PHS head coach Dave Kosa sees the squad’s unselfish play as a key strength.

“We do a really good job of sharing the ball,” said Kosa. “We are definitely getting the best shot possible for us. We have five girls who can put the ball in the basket.”

The offensive balance helped the Little Tigers put Hightstown on its heels from the opening tip-off.

“We definitely wanted to come out and play really hard; I thought we did that and we played smart,” said Kosa.

“We got the ball moving around. We definitely played inside-out today which helps us because if we can score inside, it really opens up our outside shooting.”

Devine’s inside-out game has helped trigger the PHS offense this winter.

“Erin has been working hard, she has really been working on her shot,” said Kosa.

“She is a tough guard because she can take the ball off the dribble and go inside and she can also knock down outside shots because normally they have a four or a five playing her. In most cases, we can get a mismatch with Cat or Erin. So were looking for that today and she capitalized on that.”

Even if shots aren’t falling, the team’s defensive intensity keeps the Little Tigers competitive.

“We just continue wanting to play great defense,” said Kosa. “In the last couple of games; against Steinert, we gave up 31 (a 42-31 win on January 4), against New Egypt, it was 13, and today was 21. We are on a good roll defensively. That is going to keep us in ballgames. That is what we rely on.”

With PHS off to an 8-3 start, Kosa is hoping his players can keep rolling.

“We are playing good team ball,” said Kosa, whose squad plays at Allentown on January 18 and at Nottingham on January 22. “We have been battle-tested with Steinert twice and the Hopewell game to start out with. It is turning out really well for us the first part of the season.”

Devine, for her part, believes that team’s chemistry has been a main factor underlying its good start.

“We have been playing with each other for so long, we know where everyone is,” said Devine.

“We all have the same mentality that we want to win this year and that really helps us.”