December 22, 2021

Emphasizing a Free Form Offensive Approach, PHS Boys’ Hoops Sees Versatility as Key Asset

ACTION JAXON: Princeton High boys’ basketball player Jaxon Petrone looks to unload the ball in game last winter. PHS was slated to tip off its 2021-22 season last Friday at Hightstown but that game was canceled due to COVID-19 issues within the Ram program. The Tigers are currently scheduled to play at Hightstown on December 23 and then compete in a holiday tournament at Livingston High on December 27 and 29. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Over the last two years, the offense for the Princeton High boys’ basketball team ran through point guard Tim Evidente and forward Ethan Guy.

With the two stars having graduated, PHS will be adopting a more free form style this winter.

“We are going to go to a position-less offense,” said Tiger head coach Pat Noone, who guided PHS to a 2-7 record last winter in a season abbreviated by COVID-19 concerns. “I think everybody is very interchangeable this year and versatile.”

That approach resonated with the players as they went through the preseason.

“It has been going good, the guys are really working hard,” said Noone, whose team was slated to open its season by playing at Hightstown last Friday but the game was canceled due to COVID issues within the Rams program.

“They are having a good time and they are starting the click, jell and play better.”

PHS, which is currently scheduled to play at Hightstown on December 23 and then compete in a holiday tournament at Livingston High on December 27 and 29, will be looking for a good season from senior standout Jaxon Petrone.

“Jaxon will play a lot; he will be outside and inside for us,” said Noone of the versatile Petone, who starred at quarterback and defensive back for the PHS football team this fall and is a pitcher/first baseman for the Tiger baseball squad.

“He is a good defender, he can shoot, he is a good distributor, and he has good vision. He has a lot of intangibles.”

Senior guard Connor McDowell brings experience and intangibles.

“Connor looks good, he is one of the few guys, along with Jaxon, who knows the system pre-pandemic which is a lot different than last year,” said Noone.

“We are trying to get back into it and we are relying on him to help out on how practice should really look, the structure of it and our defense.”

The Tigers will be relying on some intense play this winter from senior John Reardon.

“John is a hungry kid who loves the game,” said Noone. “He has been doing well at practice, he has a very quick step. He is a gym rat; he really enjoys being out there.”

Junior Ryan Guy, the younger brother of Ethan, and junior Chris Rinaldi have raised their game.

“Ryan is very unique in his own skill set compared to Ethan,” said Noone.

“They are two very good kids. Ethan had his own niche and Ryan has his niche. They both have very high basketball IQ. Rinaldi brings a good shot. He is a good tempo guy at guard He is really picking up our defense pretty well.”

A trio of new faces, sophomore Remmick Granozio, sophomore Jahan Owuse, and senior Will Doran, the leading scorer for the PHS boys’ lacrosse team last spring, are each finding a niche on the squad.

“Remmick is a very good shooter, he is probably going to get some minutes,” said Noone.

“Jahan is very athletic. I see them hopefully learning the system and being able to see time as we get through the season and they get comfortable with what is going on. Will is another key newcomer. He is looking very good. He has been a great addition. He brings great leadership and he is a great athlete.”

In order to have a good season, PHS will need to hit the glass to trigger its up-tempo approach.

“We definitely have to rebound better for sure, we need our shots to fall,” said Noone.

“We have to play at a little quicker pace. We have been a little bit slower so far, we need to pick it up. We want to run and press, we have got pretty good depth so that will help us with those aspects.”