January 1, 2020

With Core of Young Players Gaining Experience, PDS Girls’ Basketball Looking Forward to 2020

TOPPING IT OFF: Princeton Day School girls’ basketball player Caroline Topping looks to pass the ball in a game last season. Junior guard Topping scored four points in a losing cause as PDS fell 26-15 to Willingboro on December 19 in their last game before the holiday break. The Panthers, now 1-6, start the 2020 portion of their schedule by hosting Steinert on January 4. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

Looking to end 2019 on a high note, the Princeton Day School girls’ basketball team jumped out to a 9-3 second quarter lead over Willingboro in its last action before the holiday break.

“We definitely came in ready to play,” said PDS head coach Liz Loughlin.

“Once we felt a little settled I think we took our foot off the gas and allowed the other team to come back onto the game.”

Willingboro came back all the way, outscoring PDS 15-2 over the rest of the first half and the third quarter as it went on to earn a 26-15 win over the Panthers in the December 19 contest.

“This is a good game for them to teach them the importance of resilience and fighting back,” said Loughlin, whose team dropped to 1-6 and returns to action when it hosts Steinert on January 4.

“Offensively we got a little intimidated when they stepped up their defense. At the end of the day, it is building resilience in them and helping them learn the importance of fighting back, seeing that games will change.”

While Loughlin would have liked to see PDS pull out the win, she had no qualms with how her players battled the Chimeras.

“I am proud of their efforts,” said Loughlin. “We are still looking for that consistency piece, bringing 110 percent, 100 percent of the time. It is building the confidence in them that they need to trust in their abilities and trust each other. In assessing the season so far,  Loughlin is proud of the progress her core of young performers has been making with freshman Meghan Rentner, sophomore Maddie Nowack, junior Caroline Topping, and sophomore Elle Anhut having stepped up.

“We have Meghan who is coming in as a freshman and having an immediate impact; she has been a really good spark for us,” said Loughlin. “Maddie has been playing really well for us, Caroline has been playing well. Elle has also done well.”

Heading into 2020, Loughlin believes that the Panthers can make an impact down the homestretch of the season.

“I think the focus is competing hard for all four quarters, building consistency and confidence,” said Loughlin.

“It is just working to improve our individual skills as a team and building some chemistry. They are a great group, they work really hard and are always looking to get better. We are young and I think that is part of it. We need to gain experience; that is most important for us, getting more games under our belt.”