February 3, 2021

Looking to Pick Up the Tempo Offensively, PHS Girls’ Hoops Rolls to Win in Opener

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.”

Serxner isn’t the only newcomer who figures to play a key role this winter for the Tigers.

“There are other freshmen who are really going to help us,” asserted Kosa.

“Gabby Bannett is going to see a lot of minutes this year. Riley Devlin is also a freshman, as is Leah Rose-Seiden. Those are four freshmen that will be in the mix this year.”

The return of two senior guards, Brynne Hennessy and Ashley Tumpowsky, gives PHS a lot of experience in the backcourt.

“They are both seniors, they have matured,” said Kosa, who will also be using junior Katie Chao at guard. “They have been in program for a couple of years and they understand what we want to do.”

Another battle-tested veteran, junior Molly Brown, brings maturity. “She is a do-everything type of player,” said Kosa of Brown, who contributed seven rebounds and two blocked shots in the win over Hamilton.

“She can play a little three (small forward), a little four (power forward), and she might even move to the five (center) when we go small.”

At forward, a pair of juniors Sofia Aguayo and Nora Devine, should provide production in the paint. Aguayo chipped in five points and five rebounds in the opener while Devine tallied four points along with seven rebounds and three blocked shots.

“Sofia and Nora are pretty much our inside presence,” said Kosa, noting that sophomore Rachel Luo will also be seeing time at forward.

“We are expecting them to rebound the ball for us and to do the dirty work inside.”

With a schedule abbreviated by COVID concerns, Kosa is hoping to get his players as much work as possible.

“We are in a tough situation because we are the only team in the CVC playing with masks and four teams have already canceled on us,” said Kosa, whose team is scheduled to host Nottingham on February 4 and Hopewell Valley on February 9.

“We just want to get as many games as possible in because the whole objective of this season is to gain experience for everybody. For the seniors who are in their last year, the four freshmen, and then there are a couple of other players who are 12 and 13 on the depth chart, it will help them.”