Learning Lessons From Near Misses Last Year, PDS Boys’ Hoops Hungry for Successful Winter
ON A ROLL: Princeton Day School boys’ basketball player Jaylin Champion-Adams looks to make a pass in a game last season. Junior forward Colon helped the Panthers get their 2019-20 season off to a promising start as they won the Solebury School (Pa.) Invitational last weekend, defeating George School (Pa.) 69-59 in the opening round on Friday and then defeating host Solebury 71-49 in the final on Saturday. PDS will look to keep on the winning track as it plays at the Academy of New Church (Pa.) on December 14 before hosting Pennington on December 17. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)
By Bill Alden
Last winter, the Princeton Day School boys’ basketball team displayed flashes of brilliance but ended up faltering in postseason play.
PDS was seeded first in the state Prep B tournament but fell to archival Pennington in the semis. Days later, the Panthers lost to WW/P-North in the opening round of the Mercer County Tournament.
“There were a lot of missed opportunities last year, that is from the top down,” said PDS head coach Doug Davis, who guided the Panthers to a 12-13 record last winter in his debut season at the helm of the program.
“We are thinking about things we could do better as a coaching staff and what our guys who were there last year can improve on this season. We are really trying to right the wrong and go a bit farther. We want to play together as a team a little bit more. There were some spots last year where we didn’t play together as much.”
Coming together in their first weekend of the season, Panthers get the 2019-20 campaign off to a promising start as they won the Solebury School (Pa.) Invitational, defeating George School (Pa.) 69-59 in the opening round on Friday and then defeating host Solebury 71-49 in the final on Saturday
“There is a different energy on the team and in the gym,” said Davis. “We have five seniors. It is their last time playing together. It is the last time playing high school basketball. They are ready to go. I think they will lead from there.”
Three of those seniors, Jaylin Champion-Adams, Jomar Meekins, and Lucas Green, will help lead the way in the backcourt for PDS.
“Jaylin has been pretty healthy this preseason, he is showing some of his athleticism,” said Davis.
“Jomar shot the ball well for us last year. We are looking for him to continue to shoot it and attack the rim. Lucas had a really good summer. He is 6’3, 6’4 and will play both guard and which is really good for us. He worked on his handle this summer and will do a little bit of both for us.”
Junior Dameon Samuels figures to be a workhorse at guard with David “Diggy” Coit having graduated and Freddy Young Jr. transferring to Trenton Catholic Academy
“Dameon is back; with Freddy and Diggy gone, he will be one of our leading guards,” added Davis.
“He brings a defensive tenacity. He has worked on his offense this offseason.”
In the frontcourt, the Panthers feature a promising trio in two veterans and a newcomer, senior Alan Norcott and junior Josh Colon along with junior transfer Ethan Garita.
“Alan didn’t get much playing time last year; I see him as being our energy guy and a guy who can lead by example,” said Davis.
“Josh Colon shot the ball well last year, he is a big kid. Ethan is about 6’7, 6’8, he is a transfer from Trenton High. He is a bouncy kid. He is slender and we will be looking for him to put on some pounds. He is going to be good for us.”
In the view of Davis, PDS needs to be on the same page at both ends of the court in order to have a very good season.
“I think it is everyone knowing their role and playing together as a team and not being overanxious,” said Davis. His team plays at Academy of New Church (Pa.) on December 14 before hosting Pennington on December 17.
“It is playing within ourselves and bringing that defensive tenacity. If we do that and we execute on offense, I think we will be in good shape. There are a lot of guys who you can just interchange, it is going to be one of the things to help us out and have success.”