March 10, 2021

DAME TIME: Princeton Day School boys’ basketball player Dameon Samuels looks to pass the ball last week as PDS hosted Princeton High in its season finale. Senior hard Samuels went out with a bang, tallying 10 points with six assists, six rebounds, and four steals to help the Panthers defeat PHS 78-50. The victory left PDS with a final record of 7-3 for the 2021 campaign. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

With 3:19 left in the fourth quarter last Friday and the Princeton Day School boys’ basketball team rolling to a lopsided win over Princeton High, Dameon Samuels left the court for the last time in his career, prompting a flood of emotions.

The PDS senior guard embraced his coaches and started sobbing as he exited the contest. He later buried his head in his hands, watching the final minutes of the Panthers’ 78-50 win over their crosstown rivals.

“It was this is playing basketball all of your career, you don’t really want to see that last game,” said a red-eyed Samuels, reflecting on his curtain call.

“You want to keep playing and playing. When I came out, I thought of all the moments at PDS from freshman year to now and all of that coming to the end.”

Samuels was feeling emotional long before the Senior Day ceremony that took place before the game.

“All day, I have just been thinking about my career,” said Samuels.

“I try to play hard every single game. It is tough knowing that this is my last game here. These are all my brothers. I just love it, I just love basketball.”

Battling hard against crosstown rival, Samuels contributed 10 points, six assists, six rebounds, and four steals to help the Panthers cruise to the victory and end the winter at 7-3. more

TOP MOMENT: Princeton Day School girls’ basketball player Caroline Topping surveys the situation last Wednesday as PDS hosted Princeton High and held its annual Senior Day ceremony. Senior guard Topping enjoyed a memorable home finale for the Panthers in the contest, sinking the game-winning shot as PDS edged the Tigers 30-29. A day later, the Panthers fell 39-29 at PHS in the rematch of locals to end the season with a 1-7 record. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Caroline Topping sensed that the Princeton Day School girls’ basketball team was primed for a breakthrough as the program held its annual Senior Day celebration last Wednesday afternoon.

Even though PDS brought a winless record into the game against crosstown rival Princeton High, who was at 5-2, senior guard Topping was confident that the Panthers would be competitive.

“There was a lot of extra emotion, I have been waiting for this moment since I was a freshman,” said Topping.

“I have been so excited. We all just had good energy today. We had a psych, we all wore bucket hats. It was a lot of fun.”

In the second quarter, Topping had a lot of fun, tallying seven points as PDS outscored the Tigers 12-5 to build a 23-13 lead at halftime.

“We had the momentum, we had the right energy,” said Topping.

“We weren’t panicking. We had control of everything. I did feel in a groove, especially hitting that three. I am not usually a three-point shooter; it just really gave me the confidence. The speech earlier and the celebration gave me confidence and made me feel good about myself.”

That confidence wavered somewhat as PHS rallied in the second half and knotted the game at 26-26 early in the fourth quarter.

“At that point, we had a lot of energy but it wasn’t controllable,” said Topping. more

BIG FINISH: Hun School girls’ basketball player Kennedy Jardine dribbles around a foe in recent action. Senior guard Jardine ended her Hun career on a high note, tallying 24 points to help the Raiders defeat Princeton Day School 59-26 on March 1 and then adding 19 points a day later as Hun edged Peddie 47-44. The Raiders posted wins in their last four games of the season to end with a final record of 5-3. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Kennedy Jardine struggled a bit going through her pregame routine for the Hun School girls’ basketball team as it played at Princeton Day School last week.

“When we were warming up, I wasn’t making a lot of my shots,” said Hun senior guard Jardine, getting used to the surroundings in the new PDS Athletic Center. “We haven’t played here before.”

With Hun trailing 4-3 early in the first quarter, Jardine got fouled on a three-point attempt and sank three straight free throws and started to feel a comfort level.

“That really got me going; we were moving the ball, I was getting really good looks,” said Jardine.

“We were swinging the ball and getting the floor open. Also when I got the ball and I couldn’t shoot the ball, I was able to drive around my opponent and score.”

Jardine started scoring in bunches, tallying 15 points in the first half as Hun jumped out to a 37-18 lead and never looked back the way to a 59-26 win in the March 1 contest.

The Raiders focused on defense as they closed the deal against PDS.

“Our coach [Bill Holup] told us we were going to switch into man because we have a big game coming up against Peddie,” said Jardine, who ended up with 24 points in the win.

“We needed to get some work playing man so we tested that in the third quarter.” more

March 3, 2021

THUNDERSTRUCK: Former Princeton Day School boys’ hockey star Ross Colton enjoys the moment after scoring a goal for the Tampa Bay Lightning last Wednesday in his NHL debut. Forward Colton tallied 6:43 into the contest on a feed from Victor Hedman to give the Lightning a 1-0 lead as they went on to a 3-0 win. (Photo provided courtesy of Ross Colton)

By Bill Alden

It took place in Tampa Bay last Wednesday evening, but it left Ross Colton thinking of a Hollywood script.

Making his NHL debut for the Tampa Bay Lightning, former Princeton Day School standout Colton scored a goal on his second shift of the night, helping the Lightning to a 3-0 win.

“Two days afterwards, it still hadn’t really sunk in,” said Colton, 24, in a phone interview last Sunday.

“It felt like a movie or something. It was like ‘wow, that was awesome.’ That is what I kept telling myself, ‘that was awesome.’”

Colton’s awesome moment drew the attention of friends, former teammates, and coaches in the area as texts and tweets were buzzing around Central Jersey last Wednesday night.

“The thing that really sticks out is how many people reached out and were so supportive of me,” recalled Colton, a 6’0, 191-pound forward.

“After the game, my phone was pretty crazy. I had 200 or so texts and a bunch of Instagram posts and snap chats. It was almost overwhelming. I am doing my best to thank everyone. It is so awesome to see that many people follow me and support me. It was pretty cool, for sure.” more

MAKING HIS POINT: Princeton High boys’ basketball player Tim Evidente, left, goes in for a lay-up against Ewing last Friday. Senior point guard Evidente tallied 11 points to help PHS pull away to a 56-32 win over the Blue Devils. The Tigers, who dropped to 2-6 with an 82-47 loss at Nottingham last Saturday, are scheduled to play at Princeton Day School on March 5. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

There may have only been a handful of people in the gym last Friday as the Princeton High boys’ basketball team held its annual Senior Day celebration, but it was still an emotional moment for Tim Evidente.

“I never thought I would be here, time actually flew by; it is crazy,” said Evidente.

“Even though there was no crowd, it was just amazing for the team to be here with everyone.”

Having suffered a leg injury in the season opener that sidelined him for several games, Evidente was particularly appreciative to be on the court last Friday.

“When I initially rolled my ankle, I thought I was not going to play for the rest of the season because it was pretty bad,” recalled Evidente, who played with a brace on his left ankle. more

RUNAWAY TRAIN: Princeton High boys’ hockey player Colm Trainor, left, races up the ice last week against the Hamilton hockey co-op. Senior star forward and team captain Trainor tallied three goals and two assists to help PHS skate to an 11-1 win in the February 23 contest. The Tigers, who fell 8-2 to Princeton Day School last Wednesday to move to 3-1, face St. John Vianney on March 4 at the Jersey Shore Arena. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Having not played a game since February 3, Colm Trainor and his teammates on the Princeton High boys’ hockey team were chomping at the bit as they faced the Hamilton hockey co-op last week at the Mercer County Park rink.

“As soon as we got on the ice, everybody got ready,” said senior forward and team captain Trainor.

“They had all of their stuff on, we came in here in the right mind. We were mentally prepared.”

The Tigers jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the February 23 contest as two forwards on the team’s second line, sophomore Ethan Garlock and junior John O’Donnell, each found the back of the net early in the first period.

“They are a great group; when I am gone, I know they are going to help out everybody,” said Trainor.

“They are going to be part of the first and the second lines; they are already putting up points. When they are seniors, they are going to be doing great.”

In the second period, Trainor scored the third goal of the game. Combining with his colleagues on the team’s top line, junior John Zammit and sophomore Cooper Zullo, PHS kept rolling from there, increasing its advantage to 5-0 on the way to an 11-1 triumph. more

MAKING A SPLASH: Princeton High girls’ swimmer Annie Zhao displays her breaststroke form in a recent meet. Sophomore Zhao has helped PHS get off to a 3-0 start in virtual meet competition. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

While the Princeton High girls’ swimming team won’t have the chance to compete in the county championship meet or the state sectionals, Carly Misiewicz believes that her squad can still do some big things in 2021.

“The girls look pretty good this year,” said PHS head coach Misiewicz, whose squad defeated WW/P-North 121-49 in a virtual meet last week to improve to 3-0.

“We have got a pretty full team. We have got 21 or 22 girls so that is good.”

The Tigers have got two very good sophomores in Beatrice Cai and Annie Zhao.

“Beatrice is one who can do a variety of events, whether it is the individual medley or the 200 freestyle or the 100 butterfly or the 500 free,” said Misiewicz.

“At our first meet, she swam the 200 free and 100 fly for us. She mentioned possibly wanting to do the backstroke and she may be in fly a little more. Annie is an IMer and breaststroker. She came in and impressed us as she always does, clocking 1:11 or 1:12 in the first meet in the breaststroke.”

A trio of impressive juniors, Abby Walden, Tracey Liu, and Laura Liu, also give the Tigers good versatility. more

STEPPING UP: Stuart Country Day School basketball player Aleah James brings the ball up court in a game earlier this season. Last Wednesday, senior guard James scored 14 points in a losing cause as Stuart fell 55-51 to visiting Manasquan. Two days later, James posted a triple-double in a 75-61 loss to Saddle River Day, tallying 22 points with 11 rebounds and 10 assists. The Tartans, who moved to 6-5 with that defeat, have a rematch at Saddle River on March 4 and will then host St. Dominic Academy on March 5 and Ewing on March 6. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Aleah James shouldered extra responsibility as the Stuart Country Day School basketball team hosted powerhouse Manasquan High last Wednesday.

With fellow senior guard Nia Melvin unavailable to play, James had the Stuart offense in her hands.

“I feel like I really had to pull through when it came to ball-handling because they were double-teaming me a lot,” said James.

“I just had to get through for my team and try to get to the other side of the court and make a play.”

With an athletic and aggressive Manasquan putting a full-court press on James, she battled to get the ball up the court, keeping Stuart in the game as the teams were knotted in a 24-24 tie at halftime.

After trailing the Big Blue Warriors 40-30 late in the third quarter, Stuart rallied down the stretch, narrowing the gap to one twice in the last three minutes of regulation before succumbing 55-51. more

February 24, 2021

DAN THE MAN: Princeton High boys’ swimmer Daniel Baytin churns to victory in the 200 freestyle last Wednesday as PHS opened its 2021 season with a 134-36 win over Hamilton West in a coed meet. The Tigers have a virtual meet against Ewing scheduled for the week of March 1. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Even though its season has started late and there are COVID-19 protocols to follow at the pool, there is still plenty of spirit on deck for the Princeton High swimming program.

“First and foremost, I am glad and very fortunate that we even have a season,” said PHS head coach Carly Misiewicz, noting that the team is following strict protocols at practice with limits on how many swimmers can be in the pool at one time and athletes masking whenever they are not in the water.

“That is the biggest thing, they are all enjoying just being together. Yes, it is not the same but you are away from a computer screen, you are getting to be around your friends. Swimming has brought more of a sense of normalcy, it is that aspect of having that physical interaction with other people. They are really happy that they are still getting to be with their friends.”

The swimmers are certainly happy to get the chance to train and compete.

“They are still getting to race,” said Misiewicz. “A lot of club teams are strapped for time and pool availability as well too, so, the fact that we are consistently swimming every day after school and Saturday mornings has been good.”

Last Wednesday, PHS excelled in its first race of the year, topping Hamilton 134-36 in a coed meet. It marked the program’s first virtual meet which entailed each team swimming separately at their pool and then sharing times to calculate the score. more

ON TARGET: Princeton Day School girls’ hockey player Maisie Henderson controls the puck in recent action. Last Wednesday, senior forward Henderson tallied two goals to help PDS top Westfield 4-0 and improve to 5-0. In upcoming action, the Panthers are scheduled to host Trinity Hall on February 24. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Maisie Henderson grinned through her Bauer gray face mask after the Princeton Day School girls’ hockey team defeated Westfield High 4-0 last Wednesday.

With PDS having last played an official game when it defeated Chatham 7-3 on January 28, senior forward Henderson and her teammates were excited to welcome Westfield to McGraw Rink.

“It is awesome having the opportunity to be able to play, especially as a senior,” said Henderson, who scored a pair of goals in the victory as the Panthers improved to 5-0.

“It is really cool. Although there are definitely some restrictions and we can’t play a full schedule. It is definitely nice to have the opportunity to play one last year.”

It has been particularly cool for Henderson to get a chance this winter to play one last season for PDS since she had moved to New England for her junior year.

“I lived in Nantucket Massachusetts last year; last year was the first time they had a girls’ varsity hockey team,” said Henderson.

“It was a nice thing to be part of and help start that program. We didn’t really know until May that I was coming back for sure. I am really happy that I was able to come back to have a senior season here.” more

SENIOR MOMENT: Princeton Day School boys’ hockey player Trevor Kunkle celebrates last week after scoring his first career goal against St. Augustine. Senior forward Kunkle’s tally was a highlight in the February 16 contest which saw a late PDS rally fall short in a 3-2 defeat. The Panthers, now 1-1-1, host Princeton High on February 24. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

It was a highlight years in the making for Trevor Kunkle.

After working his way up through the Princeton Day School boys’ hockey program, playing junior varsity for two years and then getting called up to the varsity last winter, senior forward Kunkle finally found the back of the net last week for the Panthers as they hosted St. Augustine.

Five minutes into the February 16 contest, Kunkle battled in the crease and slotted the puck home to give PDS a 1-0 lead.

“It was the first varsity goal for me so it felt great,” said Kunkle. “It was good, it lifted the boys up. I was on JV my first two high school years and then last year I got the call up. I didn’t get much playing time. I was a big bench energy guy. This year I am getting a lot of playing time. I have never played travel hockey. I am just happy that I got it out of the way. I got that pressure off my back.”

Kunkle is happy to be on the ice in a season limited by COVID-19 concerns.

“None of the games are guaranteed, you just have to make the best of it,” said Kunkle.

“We are lucky to have a couple of games on the schedule. It was looking pretty grim, that we weren’t going to get any games this season. We had a lot of guys out with COVID. We are just happy to get a game. It was the first game in a while; it felt good, definitely.” more

APPLYING PRESSURE: Hun School boys’ basketball player Kelvin Smith, right, pressures a foe in recent action. Last Saturday, senior guard/forward Smith contributed 13 points, four rebounds, two assists, and one steal to help Hun post a 58-41 win over Princeton Day School. The Raiders, who improved to 4-1 with the victory, are scheduled to host Pennington on February 25, Peddie School on February 27, and the Patrick School on March 2. (Photo by Lexi Thomas)

By Bill Alden

Kelvin Smith’s explosiveness and physicality helped him emerge as a star wide receiver and linebacker for the Hun School football team.

This winter, Smith is applying those gridiron qualities to the basketball court, excelling for the Hun boys’ hoops team.

“Football has definitely helped my cutting in basketball,” said senior guard/forward Smith, a powerfully-built 6’4, 220-pounder.

“When I cut now, I am really good at faking out defenders and not letting them know which way I am going. It feels like running a route. Physical-wise, I feel like nobody on the court is too big to stop me. After playing football, the aggressiveness and tenacity I have is very different from everybody else. It helps me get to the basket easier. It definitely helps me in grabbing rebounds over people and getting loose balls.”

Last Saturday in a 58-41 win over the Princeton Day School, Smith displayed his aggressiveness, tallying 13 points with four rebounds, two assists, and one steal.

“I thought the team performed really well overall; I thought it was a good game,” said Smith, reflecting on the victory which was the third straight for the Raiders as they improved to 4-1.

“This past week, COVID was throwing our schedule off a little bit. We wanted to see if we could get back in that rhythm and we did. I think everybody played well.”

Despite dealing with stops and starts due to COVID and weather issues, Hun is finding a groove.

“I feel like we are playing with confidence right now,” said Smith. more

February 17, 2021

COFFEY BREWING: Tyler Coffey, left, controls the puck in action this winter in his freshman season for the Colorado College men’s hockey team. Former Princeton Day School standout forward Coffey has an assist in 10 appearances for the Tigers so far in his debut campaign. (Photo provided courtesy of Colorado College Athletics Communications)

By Bill Alden

Tyler Coffey is living out a dream this winter as he starts his career for the Colorado College men’s hockey team. The former Princeton Day School star decided years ago that he would like to play college hockey someday.

“In the eighth grade, I knew it was something I wanted to pursue,” said Coffey, reflecting on his goal to play at the next level. “My parents were always big on me getting an education and being able to play hockey at the same time.”

In addition to thriving on the ice for the Panthers, Coffey appreciated the education he got at PDS.

“I felt PDS was the best option right there, I was there through my junior year,” said Coffey. “The three years I did have at PDS really prepared me for Colorado College.”

After starring for PDS over three seasons, Coffey moved on to juniors to help increase his chances of playing at the next level, playing for the New Jersey Hitmen of the United States Premier Hockey League (USPHL). He was named the USPHL Forward of the Year in 2017 after leading the league in goals (37) and points (60). A year later, Coffey tallied 46 points on 27 goals and 19 assists for the Hitmen.

Coffey then headed west to play for Tri-City Storm (Neb.) and Sioux Falls Stampede (S.D.) of the United States Hockey League (USHL). He was sidelined by injury with Tri-City and then scored 12 points on six goals and six assists in 18 games for  Sioux Falls during the 2019-20 campaign.

For Coffey, playing juniors proved to be a key stepping stone in his transition to Division I college hockey. more

MIGHTY CASEY: Princeton High girls’ basketball player Casey Serxner drives past a Hopewell Valley player last week. Freshman guard Serxner has helped spark PHS to a promising 3-1 start. In upcoming action, the Tigers are slated to play at Steinert on February 17 and at Trenton Central on February 23. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Coming off a disappointing 5-20 campaign in 2019-20, the Princeton High girls’ basketball team didn’t waste any time serving notice that things are going to be different this winter.

In its season opener against Hamilton West on January 29, PHS rolled to a 43-19 win over the Hornets. Six days later, the Tigers routed Nottingham 58-17.

“We are much better this year, it is just a totally different vibe,” said PHS head coach Dave Kosa.

“Actually it is a totally different philosophy; we are uptempo this year, we are pressing.”

Freshman point guard Casey Serxner has emerged as a catalyst for the squad, speeding things up on both ends of the court for the Tigers.

“Casey has been doing a great job as far as leading us on the break,” said Kosa of Serxner, who also stars at soccer for PHS.

“She also pressures the other team’s point guard so it really spearheads our offense and defense. She never tires, she is always on the go. That is the type of person she is, always working no matter what sport she is playing. She has a lot on her plate. We are asking her to run the offense, we are asking her be the half court girl at our press. She is looking to be the anticipator and get some steals which she has done.”

Last week, Serxner helped PHS pass a big early season test, tallying 11 points with three assists and two rebounds as the Tigers edged Hopewell Valley 40-37 on February 9.

“They were undefeated and they have one of the better point guards in the league in Franki Gomez,” said Kosa. more

HARD DRIVING: Princeton High boys’ basketball player Ethan Guy, right, drives to the hoop in recent action. Last Monday, senior forward Guy tallied 16 points in a losing cause as PHS fell 50-40 to Lawrence High. The Tigers, now 0-4, are slated to host Steinert on February 17 and Trenton Central on February 23. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

As a three-year starter for the Princeton High boys’ basketball team, Ethan Guy is looking to give his teammates the benefit of his experience.

“It is being that leader to keep this program running and build up a lot of these juniors and sophomores,” said senior forward Guy. “I am trying to be a leader and let them experience the varsity level.”

Last Monday, Guy set a good example for the squad’s younger players, tallying 16 points in a losing cause as PHS fell 50-40 to Lawrence High, dropping to 0-4. While a late Tiger rally fell short, the squad did show some offensive cohesion, particularly in the second quarter when they outscored the Cardinals 13-9.

“I felt that we were comfortable, we had three practices this week,” said Guy. “We implemented some more and added on to that offense a little bit. It is nice to just get comfortable.” more

INSIDE PRESENCE: Princeton Day School boys’ basketball player Ethan Garita puts up a shot in the paint over a Pennington School defender last week. Senior center Garita scored 14 points in the February 9 contest to help PDS prevail 50-49. The Panthers, who fell 62-51 at the Hun School last Thursday to move to 2-1, are slated to host Hun in a rematch on February 18 before playing at Pennington on February 23. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Ethan Garita struggled in the first half as the Princeton Day School boys’ basketball team hosted the Pennington School last week.

PDS senior center Garita managed just two points in the first half as the Panthers found themselves trailing archrival Pennington 24-23 at halftime in the February 9 contest.

“In the first half I was kind of getting frustrated, I wasn’t getting the calls from the refs,” said Garita. “You have to just keep fighting it out and keep working and it will come to you.”

At the break, PDS head coach Eugene Burroughs urged the Panthers to fight harder in the second half.

“He told us to keep working; we just wanted to be more aggressive, grab rebounds, and talk on the floor,” recalled Garita. “We had a lot of times where we were kind of selfish and we weren’t passing the ball and running our plays.” more

February 10, 2021

FAIR VALUE: Stuart Country Day School basketball player Laila Fair, center, heads to the basket in recent action. Last Thursday, senior forward Fair had 11 points and nine rebounds as Stuart defeated the Princeton Day School 73-17 to improve to 4-0. In upcoming action, Stuart plays at Rutgers Prep on February 11 and at Cherokee High on February 13 before hosting Paul VI on February 16. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Even though Laila Fair committed months ago to attend St. Joseph’s and play for its women’s basketball program, she is not on cruise control this winter in her senior campaign for the Stuart Country Day School hoops squad.

“I am not more relaxed, I am working to get better for them,” said senior forward Fair.

“I am working on my offense because I am known as a defensive player. I am also trying to develop my shoot more. I have to get confident shooting it in the game.”

Last Thursday, Fair displayed her all-around game, contributing 11 points and nine rebounds as Stuart rolled to a 73-17 win over the Princeton Day School and improved to 4-0.   

“The main thing that we wanted to do was focus on running  our offense because we need to prepare for our next five, six games against some really highly ranked local games,” said Fair.

“Today we did start a little bit slow but I think we are getting into the rhythm now. So it is getting better as we move on.”

The 6’1 Fair has developed a rhythm in the low post with classmate and fellow 6-footer Ariel Jenkins, who has committed to attend Georgetown University and play for its women’s hoops program.  more

MAKING STRIDES: Princeton Day School boys’ basketball player Hampton Sanders races up court in a game last season. Last Wednesday, sophomore guard Sanders scored 26 points to help PDS defeat Pennington 61-58 in double overtime in its season opener and the first game under new head coach Eugene Burroughs. The Panthers play at the Hun School on February 11 before hosting Sinai Christian on February 16. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Eugene Burroughs and his players on the Princeton Day School boys’ basketball team are going through an intense learning experience together this winter.

Having coached for D-I college programs and then going on to the pro ranks in the NBA and G-League, Burroughs is making his debut at the high school level as he takes the helm of the PDS program.

His players, for their part, are getting inundated with some advanced hoops concepts.

“One of the phrases that I use with them is that sometimes you have to make the uncomfortable become comfortable because right now everything is so new to them,” said Burroughs.

“One of my assistants said to me the other day, coach do you think we are putting too much stuff in, the guys look confused. I said you know what, I am going to have them raise their level instead of me going down.”

There will be some bumps in the road as Burroughs and his players get on the same page.

“I told my assistants, think about what we are doing now and where we could be next year with these kids when they have figured it out, this is how we do it,” said Burroughs. more

TEACHABLE MOMENT: New Princeton Day School girls’ basketball head coach Seraphine Hamilton makes a point to her players during a time-out as the Panthers played at Stuart Country Day last Thursday. PDS, which fell 73-17 to Stuart to move to 0-2, is next in action when it plays at the Hun School on February 18. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

Seraphine Hamilton feels fortunate that she is getting the chance this winter to take the helm of the Princeton Day School girls’ basketball program.

After stints coaching at the Peddie School, St. Andrew’s School (Del.), William Smith College, and the Newark Academy, Hamilton came to PDS in 2019 to teach English and lead the girls’ junior varsity hoops program.

With previous PDS head coach Liz Loughlin deciding to step away from the program this year, Hamilton got promoted to guide the varsity squad.

“It was a nice opportunity for me, it had been a very long time since I had been a head coach,” said Hamilton, 36, a 2006 graduate of William Smith College who played both soccer and basketball for the school.

“I hadn’t been able to set the focus and values of a program since St. Andrews. I had really been waiting for and hoping for an opportunity to come up. I got lucky.” more

PASSING IT ON: Hun School girls’ basketball player Kennedy Jardine looks to pass the ball in action last season. Senior guard Jardine will play a key role in triggering the Hun offense this winter. The Raiders, who fell 76-58 to the Blair Academy last Monday in its season opener, are next in action when they play at the Life Center Academy on February 12.

Dealing with COVID-19 concerns and strict protocols hasn’t dampened interest around the Hun School girls’ basketball program.

“The surprising thing is that this is the most girls I have ever had come out,” said Hun head coach Bill Holup, noting that the team’s December practices were held outdoors on the school’s tennis courts.

“I think there were about 30 girls who came out originally even under the circumstances of being outside in the cold and everything. That was very encouraging.”

In mid-January, the Raiders finally got to practice in their gym and were thrilled to work indoors. more

February 3, 2021

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.” more

SEEING THE COURT: Princeton High girls’ basketball player Brynne Hennessy looks to unload the ball in a game last season. This past Friday, senior guard Hennessy scored nine points to help PHS defeat Hamilton West 43-19 in its season opener. In upcoming action, the Tigers are scheduled to host Nottingham on February 4 and Hopewell Valley on February 9. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Over the last few seasons, playing solid defense has been a calling card for the Princeton High girls’ basketball team.

But with an infusion of promising freshmen to go along with some battle-tested veterans, PHS head coach Dave Kosa believes his squad is ready to pick up the pace offensively.

“We have had a really great defense in the county the last three years,” said Kosa.

“Even though we were 5-20 last year, we still had a really good defense. We gave up around 40 points a game last year which is really good for a high school team. We just couldn’t score the ball. We are hoping to go up-tempo this year and get some points off of our defense.”

Kosa is looking for freshman Casey Serxner to jumpstart the PHS offense.

“She is going to be phenomenal; you saw her on the soccer field and how good she was,” said Kosa of Serxner, who made a superb debut last Friday, tallying a game-high 10 points as PHS rolled to 43-19 win at Hamilton West in its season opener.

“With her toughness, her aggressiveness, she has been great. We are really excited to have her. She will be our point guard this year.” more

MILLER TIME: Princeton Day School boys’ hockey goalie Tim Miller tracks the puck against Morristown-Beard last Wednesday. Junior Miller starred in the game, making 24 saves to earn a shutout as PDS prevailed 4-0 over the Crimson in their season opener. In upcoming action, the Panthers host Seton Hall Prep on February 3 and St. Augustine on February 8. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Tim Miller bulked up by necessity coming into this winter for his junior season with the Princeton Day School boys’ hockey team.

Battling through illness last year that saw his weight dip to around 100 pounds, star goalie Miller is a now a hale and hearty 150 pounds.

“It is much better; it was weightlifting, eating, bringing my stamina up and practicing,” said Miller.

“In the third periods, I was always so tired but I was able to finish games out.”

Last Wednesday, Miller displayed that hard-earned stamina, making 24 saves to earn a shutout as PDS defeated Morristown-Beard 4-0 in its season opener.

With Mo-Beard putting on the pressure in the first period, Miller got into a rhythm early in the contest. more

NOTCHING GOALS: Princeton Day School girls’ hockey player Ally Antonacci, left, heads to goal in recent action. Last Thursday, junior forward Antonacci tallied a goal and three assists to help PDS defeat Chatham-Madison 7-3. The Panthers, now 4-0, are slated to host Princeton High on February 9 and Morristown-Beard on February 11. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

With the Princeton Day School girls’ hockey team locked in a scoreless tie against Chatham-Madison early in the second period last Thursday evening at McGraw Rink, Ally Antonacci broke the ice with a stroke of brilliance.

Racing toward goal on an odd-man rush, PDS junior forward Antonacci fired a laser into the top of the net to put the Panthers up.

For Antonacci, the tally came as a surprise as her view of the goal was obscured.

“I was actually blinded coming up,” said Antonacci. “I couldn’t see where I was shooting. Luckily I got it in.”

Sparked by Antonacci, PDS got a lot more pucks in the net, pulling away to a 7-3 victory, reeling off five unanswered goals over the last 12:05 of the third period as it improved to 4-0.

Antonacci helped get that run going, getting the puck to senior Hailey Wexler, who banged it home with 12:08 left in the third period to make it a 3-3 game. more

January 27, 2021

OPENING SALVO: Princeton High boys’ hockey player Cooper Zullo, right, battles in the crease against the Hamilton combined team last Friday at the Mercer County Park rink. Sophomore forward Zullo tallied a goal and two assists to help PHS pull away to an 8-3 win in its season opener and first game under new head coach Dave Hansen. In upcoming action, the Tigers are slated to face Lawrence High on January 27 at the MCP rink. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Cooper Zullo and his teammates on the Princeton High boys’ hockey squad were frustrated early on as they faced the Hamilton combined team last Friday at Mercer County Park rink in their season opener.

PHS fell behind 1-0 as Hamilton goalie Trevor Malik repeatedly thwarted the Tigers.

“That was kind of a slow start for us; we hope to get the first goal but their goalie was really standing on his head today,” said sophomore forward Zullo.

“We were talking on the bench and we were saying once we get a few, they will keep coming in.”

With 9:05 left in the first period, Zullo got the first goal for PHS in the contest against Hamilton which includes players from Hamilton North, Nottingham, and Steinert. more