Dealing with Season Limited by COVID Concerns PHS Boys’ Hoops Just Happy to Be on the Court
STRONG GUY: Princeton High boys’ basketball player Ethan Guy, right, powers past a defender last Friday evening as PHS played at Nottingham in its season opener. Senior forward Guy scored a team-high 12 points in a losing cause as PHS fell 67-42 to the Northstars. The Tigers are next in action when they are slated to play at Hopewell Valley on February 9. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)
By Bill Alden
While Pat Noone isn’t sure how many games his Princeton High boys’ basketball team is actually going to play this winter, he believes that just getting on the court is helping its players mentally and physically.
“It is really good for the kids, we are doing a good job of following all of the safety protocols that are in place,” said PHS head coach Noone, who guided the Tigers to a 13-12 record in 2019-20 and a spot in the Mercer County Tournament quarterfinals.
“It is great for the kids’ interactions; it is great for them to be playing. There are a lot of positives and we are doing everything in our power to keep it safe.”
The players are responding positively to getting the chance to play.
“They are so glad to be around their friends and teammates, they are so glad to be playing,” said Noone, whose team fell 67-42 at Nottingham last Friday evening in its season opener with senior Ethan Guy tallying a team-high 12 points in the defeat.
“I think it is really good for all of them. Everybody knows that it has been a rough year, but they are super stoked. They are excited. They are happy.”
Noone is excited to have senior point guard Tim Evidente back to trigger the PHS offense.
“Timmy is looking really good, he is getting some looks from Rutgers Newark so hopefully he can play next year,” said Noone.
“He looks really well; he is quick with his hands. I am glad that he gets to go out and get seen although it is not a normal senior year.”
The Tigers boast some backcourt depth in junior Jaxon Petrone and junior Connor McDowell.
“Jaxon is a quarterback in football, so he has great vision,” said Noone.
“He has good size, he can shoot. He is playing really well. We also have Connor McDowell. He is playing well and has shown a lot of improvement. He is also a pitcher, so he is a good athlete.”
Star forward Guy should give the Tigers some great work in the paint.
“Ethan looks good, he is being looked at by TCNJ,” said Noone. “He is long, he is athletic, he was honorable mention CVC last year. He really wants to go out with a bang his senior year, he looks great. He shoots well around the rim, he is a great defender.”
Others who should see time at forward include senior Charles Hamit and senior Zane Scott.
“We have got Charles Hamit coming back; he did real well last year, he really progressed, and he is continuing to progress,” said Noone, who got eight points from Hamit against Nottingham with Scott chipping in seven.
“I think he is going to be good. Zane is good and long; he has that length. He is going to be a problem on the defensive end and with rebounding.”
While dealing with COVID-19 problems has necessitated a limited season, Noone believes his players can still enjoy a memorable winter.
“I think right now where we are at, you just want them to have a good experience and get as many games in as we possibly can,” said Noone.
“It might only be eight games. You get a different perspective because you don’t know what is coming tomorrow. The seniors have done so much for the program for so long, I don’t want them to go out on a sour note.”