December 15, 2021

After Making Strides Last Winter in Short Season, PHS Girls’ Basketball Aims to Keep Improving

MAKING STRIDES: Princeton High girls’ basketball player Molly Brown dribbles upcourt in a game last season. PHS will be depending on senior forward and team captain Brown to provide all-around play and leadership this winter. The Tigers open their 2021-22 season by hosting Hightstown on December 17. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Although the Princeton High girls’ basketball team only played 10 games last winter in a season abbreviated by COVID-19 concerns, the squad made progress as it went 7-3.

With PHS opening its 2021-22 season by hosting Hightstown on December 17, PHS head coach Dave Kosa is looking for his program to keep showing improvement.

“We just have to keep on taking the next step and working hard in practice,” said Kosa, whose team tips off its 2021-22 campaign by hosting Hightstown on December 17.

“The freshmen last year are now sophomores. The seniors were the sophomores two years ago when we were 5-20. We are taking our strides and we are just hoping to take the next one this year.”

The squad’s quintet of seniors, Molly Brown, Nora Devine, Sofia Aguayo, Moji Ayodele, and Katie Chao are setting a positive tone.

“It is a nice group, we have got some good senior leadership there with Molly, Nora, and Sofia,” said Kosa.

“Moji came back and she is playing this year. Katie is just a hard worker.”

Kosa is expecting to get some good work at point guard from sophomore standout Casey Serxner and Chao.

“Casey is looking good, she is just so competitive,” said Kosa of Serxner, who also stars at midfield for the PHS girls’ soccer team.

“She is such a warrior, it is great to go to battle with her. She works so hard on every sport that she plays. She has really improved her shooting this year. To have her spearhead our defense and being up front pressuring the ball and pushing the ball up the floor offensively is really nice. Katie is our backup point guard and she really pushes Casey hard each day.”

Junior Rachel Luo is bringing some nice versatility to the squad.

“Rachel has worked really, really hard,” said Kosa. “As a freshman two years ago, she was just getting her feet wet. Last year, I did see glimpses but it wasn’t as consistent. She was young, she was still a sophomore. This year, she has really stepped into a leading role for us at the two (shooting guard) and three (small forward). We are going to be pretty versatile, we do have a lot of guards on the bench. When we bring them into the ball game, Rachel will probably switch to a three for us.”

The Tigers boast a group of six sophomores who will get minutes in Serxner, Riley Devlin, Leah Rose-Seiden, Gabby Bannett, Brielle Moran, and Ava Caruso

“We have Casey, Devlin, Leah, and Gabby, who has also really improved as well so she will probably start for us at the three,” said Kosa.

“Moran is a soccer player, she is a nice role player who  understands what she has to do on the floor. We also have a transfer, Ava, who is a sophomore as well. It gives us a lot of depth, it is definitely a luxury to have.”

Kosa is depending on Brown to do a lot of things for PHS.

“Molly is the lone returning captain, she was with the group a couple of years ago when we took our lumps,” said Kosa.

“She just keeps plugging at it and working hard. She does all of the dirty work. She blocks out and is always in the right spot at the right time. She spends half the time on the floor. She is a glue girl that gives us a little bit of everything. She is not going to score 20 points a game but definitely fills up the stat sheet.”

The trio of Devine, Aguayo, and Ayodele, a star goalie for the PHS girls’ soccer team, should combine to be a force in the frontcourt.

“They are looking really good, they give us a lot of height,” said Kosa.

“We can put them in together and when one gets tired we can spell them. That is where having Moji is really going to be helpful this year with her athleticism. She can rebound the basketball. So having those three and then also Molly in there too, that is four strong post players that we can interchange and mix and match. It provides us with a lot of depth.”

The Tigers will need a strong effort to win their season opener against Hightstown.

“That will be a test right off the bat,” said Kosa. “It is exciting and at the same time it is a good challenge for us. We just have to be ready for it, we have been working hard in practice. We only had one scrimmage and we did really well with it.”