December 14, 2022

Boasting Promising Newcomers, Battle-Tested Veterans, PHS Girls’ Hoops Sees Up-Tempo Style as Key to Success

SURE SHOT: Princeton High girls’ basketball player Rachel Luo puts up a shot in a game last winter. Coming off a superb junior season, senior guard Luo figures to be a key performer for PHS this winter. The Tigers tip off their 2022-23 season by playing at Princeton Day School on December 15. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Boasting a blend of newcomers and some battle-tested veterans, there is a sense of optimism around the Princeton High girls’ basketball team heading into the 2022-23 season.

“We have a lot of new faces,” said PHS head coach Dave Kosa, who guided PHS to a 10-11 record last winter. “They are really jelling with one another, we are excited. There are a couple of freshmen that are going to play a lot of minutes, I think they are ready for it. They are pretty talented. It is good that we are going to be young and hungry.”

It is also good for Kosa to have senior Rachel Luo, junior Riley Devlin, and junior Ava Caruso returning in the backcourt.

“We thrust Rachel into the point guard role last year and she wasn’t really ready for it,” said Kosa. “I think this year we are going to do it more by committee. Riley can play it, Rachel can play it, and Ava can play it. Those are the three guards that will be handling the ball for us.”

Two new faces, freshman Sephora Romain and sophomore transfer Gianna Grippo, should see action at guard.

“Sephora is super athletic, she is going to add a lot of quickness,” said Kosa. “She might be in the mix as the season wears on. Gianna transferred from Bridgewater — she might see some minutes as well. It provides us with depth.”

Junior forward Gabby Bannett provides experience and versatility.

“One player who has really stepped up is Gabby, she is ready to break out this year,” said Kosa. “She will probably be a three (small forward) or a four (power forward). She has put in a lot of work, her commitment is awesome. Her confidence is really growing and she can handle the ball too. Her overall game is versatile.”

Joining Bannett in the frontcourt will be sophomore Luna Bar-Cohen and a pair of freshmen, Anna Winters, and Kate Sharkey.

“Luna is a hard worker, she is going to be one of our post players,” said Kosa, noting that freshmen Quinn Gallagher and Maddie Nieman should also get some minutes in the post. “She is just solid, she is working on her game. She can also knock down the 15-footer. She gives us versatility where everyone can knock down a shot. Anna is solid for us, she is really aggressive. She really does a good job on the boards for us. Katie is more of a four, or a little five (center) for us. She is very versatile as well. She can step out and knock down a perimeter shot. She has a decent handle for a four.”

Getting his players to take better care of the ball and be more efficient offensively are two priorities for Kosa as he has led his team through the preseason.

“The two main things we really want to improve on are cutting down turnovers from last year and scoring the ball,” said Kosa.

“The big thing with Riley, Gabby, and Rachel is that they have been in the program for at least three years now so they understand the system. They are all handling the ball. I think that will help us. They will be our stalwarts with moving the ball.”

With PHS playing at Princeton Day School on December 15 in its season opener, Kosa believes that working hard on the defensive end will be another key to success for his squad.

“It is a matter of us being aggressive defensively,” said Kosa. “The last couple of years we have more of a zone team. This year, we are a little bit smaller but we are quicker and faster. We will be looking to get out and run; we will be looking to get stuff off of our defense.”