With Hennessy Stepping Up in Varsity Debut, PHS Girls’ Basketball Showing Improvement
By Bill Alden
Brynne Hennessy has leapt up the ranks for the Princeton High girls’ basketball program this winter.
After having played for the junior varsity squad last year as a sophomore, Hennessy was not only promoted to the varsity this season, she is serving as a tri-captain for the team.
“I love playing on varsity; everyday, I look forward to going to practice,” said Hennessy.
“I love all of the girls, it is so much fun being captain with Molly [Brown] and Ashley [Tumpowski]. We are really starting to get into the groove of working as a team; that is what we really need to do.”
Last Friday evening against visiting Ewing, PHS found its groove early, jumping out to a 7-0 lead.
“Coming back from two losses, we really wanted to win today,” said Hennessy. “Being up 7-0 was awesome.”
After falling behind 17-14 at halftime, PHS put itself in position to win, outscoring the Blue Devils 16-9 in the third quarter to take a 30-26 lead heading into the final eight minutes of the contest.
“I thought we really played as a unit and a big part of it was communication,” said Hennessy, reflecting on the third quarter effort. “We were all communicating and looking for each other.”
But Ewing responded by going on a 13-3 run to start the fourth quarter and seize control of the game on the way to a 41-33 victory.
“I think that the pressure got to us a little bit,” said Hennessy. “Our main thing is that we make so many turnovers. We panic, make a bad pass and that turns into an easy bucket for them. If we run through our plays, we can get it done and can get shots in.”
Hennessy hit some shots in a losing cause, ending up with a team-high nine points on the night along with three rebounds and three steals. “I am trying to work on my 3-point game a lot,” said Hennessy. “Today, I was trying to draw some fouls by driving into the basket.”
PHS head coach Dave Kosa liked the way his team kept working hard. “We continued to fight and claw,” said Kosa.
“We just didn’t have enough at the end but we did play well in spurts so that is going to help us for the future.”
The best spurt for the Tigers came in the third quarter when they were moving the ball around, generating some easy shots. “It is just a matter of making the right play in the right spots,” said Kosa.
“When we are playing well, we share the ball. That is Princeton basketball. We just didn’t make the right decisions; we would get the ball right away and then just panic. When we made plays poised and confident, we scored 16 points.”
In the latter stages of the contest, PHS lost its poise in the face of some full-court pressure employed by Ewing.
“The difference today was turnovers, if we handle their press a little bit better, we get wide open looks,” said Kosa. “In the third quarter we did, in the fourth quarter, we didn’t.”
Kosa credited Hennessy with converting on some looks at the basket, both on the perimeter and in the lane.
“Brynne has really worked hard, I told her you are a shooter so continue to shoot the ball,” said Kosa. “She also took the ball to the basket a couple of times.”
While Kosa was disappointed with the loss, he saw the performance as a step in the right direction.
“We are getting there,” asserted Kosa, whose team dropped to 0-4 with a 33-20 loss at New Egypt last Saturday and will look to get on the winning track as it plays at Hopewell Valley on January 10, hosts East Brunswick on January 11, and then plays at WW/P-North on January 14. “Now it is a matter of finishing.”
Hennessy, for her part, believes things will get better and better for the Tigers.
“I am really proud of how we played today; it kind of got away from us in the fourth quarter,” said Hennessy. “I am really looking forward to the rest of the season because we can definitely build on this and win some games.”