January 23, 2019

With Evidente Thriving in Jump to Varsity, PHS Boys’ Hoops Showing Improvement

EVIDENTLY GOOD: Princeton High boys’ basketball player Tim Evidente puts up a shot in recent action. Last Friday, sophomore guard Evidente scored four points as PHS fell 68-55 to visiting Allentown. The Little Tigers, who moved to 6-6 with the setback, were slated to play at Princeton Day School on January 23, host Hamilton on January 25 and then play at Trenton Central on January 29. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

The pressure was on Tim Evidente as he stepped to the foul line for the Princeton High boys’ basketball team in the waning seconds of regulation last week against visiting WW/P-South last week.

PHS was clinging to a 38-36 lead over the Pirates in the January 15 contest and sophomore guard Evidente earned a one-and-one opportunity after getting fouled in the backcourt.

The first-year varsity performer acknowledged that he was feeling some butterflies as he eyed the rim.

“I felt the crowd, I was nervous,” said Evidente. “I was focusing on making these count; I knew we needed them.

Evidente coolly drained both shots as PHS held on for a 40-38 win.

In reflecting on pulling out the victory over the Pirates, Evidente asserted that the fiery mentality displayed by PHS made the difference.

“I think it was our hustle and the way we played,” said Evidente. “We just wanted it more than them. Our defense wins most of our games. Our rotations are on point most of the time.”

The Little Tigers got off to a good start against WW/P-South, jumping out to a 12-3 lead early in the second quarter.

“We moved the ball around a lot,” said Evidente. “We started making shots, we started getting a flow going.”

As the starting point guard, Evidente looks to keep the ball moving.“I see my role as distributing the ball, running the plays and being like a coach on the floor,” said Evidente, who scored eight points in the win over the Pirates.

While moving up to the varsity this season from the freshman team has been challenging, Evidente is adjusting well.

“I think I am getting more comfortable with the guys,” said Evidente. “We are blending a lot more on and off the court. We are showing it on the court as well.”

PHS head coach Pat Noone credited Evidente with showing maturity on the court.

“Tim does a great job of controlling the offense,” said Noone. “He sees the court. He uses his dribble to create space so he will get in there. If he doesn’t like it, he pulls it back out and we get to run the offense.”

Noone liked the patience his team displayed in edging WW/P-South. “We talked about it in practice yesterday; I said this is probably going to be a 32-minute game, probably closer to 40 minutes because I thought we might get into double overtime with how good they are and how well they play,” said Noone, whose team fell 68-55 to visiting Allentown last Friday to move to 6-6  and was slated to play at Princeton Day School on January 23, host Hamilton on January 25 and then play at Trenton Central on January 29.

“I think our focus was that, no matter what happened, we couldn’t let our guard down. I think the good thing was that once we gave up the lead; it was only one or two points and we never got down.”

The team’s defensive intensity has been one of the best things about its play so far this winter.

“Our defense was good; we have been playing well defensively,” said Noone. “We have turned the corner on that, we have guys moving and playing hard so that is awesome.”

With PHS having already surpassed its win total from last season when it went 4-21, Noone senses that the program is turning a corner.

“We have to keep the defense going and the same mentality,” said Noone.

“We have principles that we coach – it is attitude, effort, no complaining, no excuses, and extreme ownership. We missed a lot of shots tonight and we talked about that in the huddle. It was ‘let’s rate our effort’ and it was great job. We are getting tips, we are getting loose balls, we are diving. Sometimes you can’t control if you make shots.”

Evidente, for his part, believes the team will stay in control of its effort going forward.

“We just have to keep playing hard,” said Evidente. “It is just doing our same thing in practice every day and keep putting in hard work.”