June 30, 2021

Bar-Cohen Enjoying Reunion Tour in Summer Hoops, Playing with Former PHS Teammates on TBT Squad

DRIVE TIME: Former Princeton High boys’ basketball star Gefen Bar-Cohen drives to the hoop last Monday at the Community Park courts for The Basketball Team (TBT) in the Princeton Recreation Department Men’s Summer Basketball League. Bar-Cohen tallied a game-high 21 points to help TBT prevail 46-42 in overtime. In other action last Monday, Majeski Foundation defeated Caesar’s Bagels & Deli 57-51 and Planet Fitness topped NJ Path Academy 40-29. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Gefen Bar-Cohen was enjoying himself even though The Basketball Team (TBT) got off to a 0-2 start last week in its first season competing in the Princeton Recreation Department Men’s Summer Basketball League.

With TBT being comprised of former Princeton High boys’ players who graduated in the last two years, Bar-Cohen is relishing reconnecting with his former teammates. 

“We just feel fortunate that we can play together again,” said Bar-Cohen, a 2020 PHS grad who committed to play at Kenyon College and took a gap year for 2020-21 and will be starting his college career this fall.

“We didn’t think we would have the chance after high school; we are such a tight group of guys. We love playing with each other and I am glad we can come out here and compete. It was a group decision.”

The group was hungry to get into the win column last Monday as it faced Princeton Supply at the Community Park Courts. Sparked by Bar-Cohen’s production in the paint, TBT pulled out a 46-42 win in overtime to get that first victory.

“We definitely needed a win coming in here so I was glad we could get one,” said Bar-Cohen, who tallied a game-high 21  points in the triumph with Ethan Guy adding nine (including five in overtime) and Judd Petrone chipping in eight, draining a pair of three-pointers.

The victory was hard-earned as TBT led 23-20 at halftime and clung to a narrow lead most of the second half only to see Julian McGowan of Princeton Supply tip in a missed shot right before the buzzer to knot the game at 40-40 and force overtime.

“We played hard the whole game; we locked up on defense, we crashed the boards,” said Bar-Cohen, who hit a free throw with 49 seconds left in overtime to seal the win.

“We played out hardest, it is automatic. We were a little upset that we let that shot go in at the end. We should have boxed a little harder. We had that mentality to just come out in overtime and say it was ours, so go get it again.”

Bar-Cohen is bringing a hard-nosed mentality to the TBT squad. “I do whatever it takes for the team to win,” said Bar-Cohen. “I contest shots and grab boards. I rely on my teammates too.”

Hitting the Community Park courts this summer is helping harden Bar-Cohen for his first college campaign.

“This is a very competitive league; I watched some guys throw down some nasty slams,” said Bar-Cohen, who played in a league in southern Israel during his gap year.

“As long as I am playing, as long as I am active, it is helping definitely. Kenyon has some Excel worksheets for some workouts; they are sending stuff to us for lifting and running. They want us to play too.”

But the best thing for Bar-Cohen about playing for TBT this summer is the chance to reunite with his PHS buddies.

“It is more than just a basketball team, we are great friends,” said Bar-Cohen. “We just love playing with each other. It is just great to be able to play.”