January 4, 2023

After Going 0-2 at South Hunterdon Tournament, PDS Girls’ Hoops Looking to Find a Rhythm in 2023

PLAYING WITH HEART: Princeton Day School girls’ basketball player Mia Hartman goes up for a shot in recent action. Last Wednesday, junior standout Hartman tallied 19 points as PDS fell 57-36 to Princeton High in a consolation game at the Over the River Classic at South Hunterdon High. The Panthers, now 1-4, are scheduled to play at Stuart Country Day on January 4 and then host the Pennington School on January 6 and Steinert High on January 7. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Coming off the holiday break, the Princeton Day School girls’ basketball team struggled to find a rhythm as it competed in the Over the River Classic last week at South Hunterdon High.

PDS opened the event by falling to 49-32 to host South Hunterdon on December 27 and then lost 57-36 to Princeton High a day later in a consolation contest.

“We didn’t have a big turnaround from a 5:30 p.m. game yesterday to 2 p.m. today, and we only have seven players here,” said Panther head coach Seraphine Hamilton, whose team moved to 1-4 with the two setbacks at the event. “I think a lot of it was just being tired and having a long break. We have had four or five days off and only one practice before we came into the tournament.”

PDS got a big performance from junior star Mia Hartman against PHS as she scored 19 points on the way to earning All-Tournament honors.

“Mia was our go-to player in a lot of ways to get buckets,” said Hamilton. “She looks to score and attack in a way that some of our other players don’t and we needed that.”

Freshman Mikayla Rondinelli showed her potential, tallying seven points against the Tigers.

“I think Makayla is great at being aggressive on the glass,” said Hamilton. “She can get to the rim really nicely and finishes around the basket. She was really a great complement to that today.”

The trio of sophomore Olivia Richter, senior Paige Gardner, and senior Paris Smith also made some nice plays for the Panthers in the defeat.

“Olivia played well in the high post, she is crafty,” said Hamilton. “She is able to make some good passes and get some good looks. She looks to attack the basket, she was a really big difference maker. Paige and Paris today were making really good cuts.”

The Panthers had a really good stretch in the second quarter, outscoring PHS 14-10 in the period.

“Our offense is predicated on teamwork and being able to work as a team,” said Hamilton. “We just need more practice time for us to flow and see each other because Paige and Paris were open a lot a few times in the second quarter. We were getting them passes when they were cutting. We just lost our focus on that a little bit in the third quarter.”

With PDS slated to play at Stuart Country Day on January 4 and then host the Pennington School on January 6 and Steinert High on January 7, Hamilton believes her squad can find a rhythm as it hits a busy part of the schedule.

“I am looking forward to getting back after the new year when we are able to be consistent with our practices,” said Hamilton. “It is hard to have five days off and one practice and then four days off, practice, game. That is not beneficial so once we get back on January 3, I think that is when we still start seeing more of that progress.”