January 29, 2020

Sophomore Aguayo Shows Improvement As PHS Girls’ Hoops Defeats Nottingham

STEPPING UP: Princeton High girls’ basketball player Sofia Aguayo looks for an opening in recent action. Last Friday, sophomore forward Aguayo tallied a game-high 12 points to help PHS defeat Nottingham 38-10. The Tigers, who moved to 3-9 with a 51-32 loss to South Brunswick on Saturday, play at Robbinsville on January 31 before hosting Princeton Day School on February 1 and Notre Dame on February 4. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Sofia Aguayo is getting up to speed in making the adjustment to starting for the Princeton High girls’ basketball team.

“It has been a challenge but I have worked very hard and I make a conscious effort,” said sophomore forward Aguayo, who played mainly on the JV as a freshman with a few appearances on varsity. “It is a lot faster and a lot more things to learn.”

Last Friday evening, Aguayo showed how much she has learned, tallying a game-high 12 points with nine rebounds as PHS pulled away to a 38-10 win over Nottingham.

In reflecting on the win, Aguayo acknowledged that it took some time for PHS to get into a rhythm.

“It was a rough start; in the second half, we started picking it up a little more,” said Aguayo.

“We just needed to start playing more as a team. We made that switch at halftime; we got into the mental state of the team play.”

Aguayo’s offensive production was the product of that team play. “My points came in the flow of the offense, I was looking for the open shot,” said Aguayo.

Putting in extra time to hone her skills, Aguayo believes she is a bigger threat to get points in the paint.

“I worked on my post moves a lot because I am a big,” added Aguayo. “I have to know how to do that.”

Having started the season by losing six of its first seven games, it felt good for PHS to cruise past Nottingham in picking up its third victory of the campaign.

“It definitely is a confidence boost,” said Aguayo. “Our record is low on wins because we have no seniors.”

PHS head coach Dave Kosa credited his players with overcoming a sluggish start against Nottingham.

“I like the way that we progressed throughout the course of the game; we got into a rhythm in the second half,” said Kosa.

“The first half was disjointed, but we hung in there and we played good defense which is our staple. We gave up five points in the half and 10 in the game. We just keep relying on our defense and hopefully the offense will start to click.”

Seeing Aguayo starting to click is a plus for Kosa. “Sofia has worked hard, she has a nice touch inside and her footwork is good,” said Kosa.

“She needs to get stronger inside but she does finish well. We saw it tonight, she looks for the open area.”

Aguayo formed a potent one-two punch inside with classmate Nora Devine, who contributed nine points and seven rebounds in the win over Nottingham.

“Nora and Sofia do a good job as far as doing the high and low, they work well together,” said Kosa.

“We were hoping to use our size advantage inside and we were able to do that. We got the ball inside, we got the ball to the high post. We looked down low. When we get the ball to the high post, good things happen. Even if we miss layups we still get good shots.”

Junior point guard Ashley Tumpowsky helped get the ball inside for the Tigers, picking up seven assists on the evening.

“She has gotten better as far as running the show and making better decisions,” said Kosa.

“I think our MO as a team is that we just need to make better decisions when it comes to games.”

With PHS moving to 3-9 with a 51-32 loss to South Brunswick last Saturday, Kosa acknowledges that his players need to develop greater self-belief.

“We work hard; we can’t put the ball in the basket for them, but we do everything we can to make them successful,” said Kosa, whose squad plays at Robbinsville on January 31 before hosting Princeton Day School on February 1 and Notre Dame on February 4.

“There is going to come a time where they are going to have start believing in themselves, executing, and really taking that next step. They are getting open looks, they just need to continue to work hard and knock those shots down.”

In Aguayo’s view, the Tigers are ready to work hard on a daily basis.

“We just need to stay focused in practice; with the momentum that we have, we can’t get lazy in practice,” said Aguayo. “I feel like we are playing more as a team as the season goes on.”