February 1, 2023

Sparked by Granozio’s Development as a Scorer, PHS Boys’ Basketball Aiming for Big Stretch Run

NO QUIT: Princeton High boys’ basketball player Remmick Granozio looks to pass the ball in recent action. Last Saturday, junior guard Granozio scored five points to help PHS defeat WW/P-South 51-38. The Tigers, who improved to 6-10 with the win, host Trenton Central on February 3 before playing at Dickinson on February 4 and at Florence on February 7. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

After scrambling to get up to speed last winter as he made his debut for the Princeton High boys’ basketball team, Remmick Granozio was primed to make more of an impact for the Tigers in his second varsity campaign.

“In my sophomore year on varsity, the pace was just completely different than anything I have ever played,” said Granozio. “I knew in the offseason I had to get stronger and faster if I wanted to be on the court.”

This winter, junior guard Granozio has emerged as a key performer for PHS, providing production from the perimeter for the squad.

Last week against visiting Lawrence High, Granozio tallied a team-high 14 points as PHS rallied from a 32-25 halftime deficit only to fall 51-49.

“I was just doing anything I can to help this team score. My teammates trust me with the ball, which is great,” said Granozio. “I have missed a lot of shots this year, but I came out thinking in my head that I am going to just keep shooting. It is a mental game. You can’t get down on yourself after one shot, you just have to keep pushing through.”

PHS pushed back against Lawrence, outscoring the Cardinals 16-11 in the third quarter in the January 24 contest.

“They were getting boards on us and pushing it up the court and we couldn’t stop them,” said Granozio. “We came out of the tunnel clapping, we came out with  energy. Everyone played hard on defense. We had the bench chanting defense, that was great to hear. We put the pressure on them.”

Heading into the fourth quarter, Granozio and his teammates believed they had the momentum.

“I felt great into the fourth, I think the whole team did,” said Granozio, who drained a three-pointer and had a lay-up in early in the final quarter as PHS tied the Cardinals at 46-46. “We were putting the ball in the basket, we were making shots which is key for this team. We were playing great defense like we normally do.”

With the contest knotted at 49-49 heading into the last minute of regulation, Lawrence came through with two late free throws to pull out the win.

“It is the little things at the end,” said Granozio, reflecting on the setback. “We have to make shots, we have to execute. Every possession matters down the stretch. Those loose ball turnovers can really get to us.”

While PHS head coach Pat Noone liked the way his team rallied, he lamented how things went down the stretch.

“We came all the way back; we forced some shots when we should have ran more action,” said Noone. “When we were running our offense, I think we did a pretty good job. We executed pretty well. There were too many kick aheads when it comes down to it. You have got to execute. Their  guard made a good play at the end, he got to the basket and they called the foul.”

Noone credited Granozio with jump-starting the Tiger offense.

“He definitely gave us a good spark,” said Noone of Granozio, who scored 17 points in a 53-50 loss to WW/P-South also Friday and then chipped in five as PHS topped WW/P-North 51-38 a day later to improve to 6-10. “He gave us a little scare, he rolled his ankle in warm up so we didn’t know it we were going to have him. He usually starts. He hit some good shots today. He helped us in the third quarter with a couple of threes. He was really good, so that got us going.”

The duo of juniors Jihad Wilder and Jahan Owusu had some really good moments against Lawrence as Wilder tallied 12 points and Owusu chipped in five.

“Jihad has been great for us all year, he has been great on the boards,” said Noone. “Jahan has been really good for us too. The two of them have been a great combination for us.”

With PHS hosting Trenton Central on February 3 before playing at Dickinson on February 4 and at Florence on February 7, Noone believes his squad is heading in the right direction.

“We are doing well, we have executed way better on offense,” said Noone. “We are playing with more flow, we are scoring. Defensively, we are still playing great. We are right there every game. The effort is never an issue with these guys — they play so hard and they give everything they have. They are awesome. You just wish for them that they would experience a couple more close wins.”

Granozio, for his part, is confident that the Tigers can come through with some wins in postseason play.

“The last two are pretty frustrating, that Robbinsville loss (39-37 on January 20) was pretty frustrating,” said Granozio. “I think we are in good shape. We look to do well in the Mercer County Tournament and states. This team could really beat anyone.”