Princeton Supply Wins Opener of Summer Hoops Final As Kane Shakes Off Bloody Nose to Star Down the Stretch
RAISING KANE: Michael Kane of Princeton Supply looks to unload the ball in recent action in the Princeton Recreation Department Men’s Summer Basketball League. Last Monday night, Kane tallied 16 points to help third-seeded Princeton Supply defeat top-seeded LoyalTees 66-54 in game one of the league’s best-of-three championship series. Game two is slated for Wednesday at 8 p.m. at the Community Park courts with game three, if necessary, to be played Friday evening at CP. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)
By Bill Alden
Michael Kane had a bloody nose with gauze stuffed up his right nostril but was all smiles last Monday night after helping third-seeded Princeton Supply defeat top-seeded LoyalTees 66-54 in game one of the league’s best-of-three championship series at the Community Park courts.
With Princeton Supply coming off a 65-30 rout of second-seeded YSU (Young Sports Unlimited) in the league semis last Friday, Kane and his teammates were looking to build on that performance as they faced LoyalTees.
“We wanted to come out aggressive; we played YSU and we came out and we were the aggressor there,” said Kane. “We pressed them, getting defensive steals. We got out to an early lead and we never gave it up. Going against these guys we know what they are about. They have won the league a lot of times. We have got to be aggressive all of the time.”
In the early going, Princeton Supply was a bit out of synch as LoyalTees started the game with just four players.
“It was almost working to their advantage because you are not used to playing five on four, it got us a little out of rhythm,” said Kane. “Even if what had gotten off to an early lead, you don’t want to win like that. It is a little unfair, you don’t want to play the game that way.”
Clinging to a 28-26 lead at halftime, Princeton Supply pulled away in the second half as Kane scored 13 of his 16 points on the evening over the last 20 minutes of the contest with Troy Jones exploding for 28 points as the squad improved to 9-2. Game two of the championship series is slated for Wednesday at 8 p.m. at the Community Park courts with game three, if necessary, to be played Friday evening at CP.
“We settled in a little bit, everybody got great looks,” said Kane, reflecting on Princeton Supply’s second half surge. “Troy played really great. It started at the defensive end with rebounding and stuff. That played into our favor. Once we got some stops, we could build that lead out a little bit. Out here, defense and rebounding are going to win you games, not so much offense.”
In reflecting on his game, Kane credited a tip from his dad with helping him find his shooting touch down the stretch.
“I saw my dad at halftime and he was telling me to keep my elbow up,” said the 6’4, 185-pound Kane, a former standout at Notre Dame High who went on the play for Drew University where he scored 689 points in his career and averaged 14.0 points a game as senior last winter. “I was shooting with my elbow up and I kept that in the back of my mind and it paid off a little bit.”
For Kane, shooting is just part of what he looks to bring to the court for Princeton Supply.
“My role is to do everything I can to help us win and that is really the most important thing,” said Kane, who got his bloody nose midway through the second half by taking a charge in the paint. “Phil (team manager and coach Phil Vigliano) trusts me to make a lot of the right decisions. I love playing with my teammates too. They are so smart, they look for shots for me. We have played together for so long. Phil saw me and contacted me. I have been playing with these guys for three or four years now. We have got a little chemistry going.”
As Princeton Supply looks to clinch the title in game two, Kane believes that it needs to play together at both ends of the court to overcome a LoyalTees squad that has won three league titles in the last five years.
“It is just do what got us here in the first place, play hard defense,” said Kane.
“We know they are going to score, they are a talented team. We have to keep doing what we do best and that is defense and rebounding. That is going to win us games.”