June 19, 2024

Kane Stars For Princeton Supply in Summer Hoops As Defending Champs Top Lob City in Season Opener

IRON MIKE: Mike Kane of Princeton Supply looks to unload the ball during a 2023 game in the Princeton Recreation Department Men’s Summer Basketball League. Last Friday night, Kane tallied 14 points to help Princeton Supply defeat Lob City 61-52 in its season opener. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Mike Kane enjoyed a superb career with the Drew University men’s basketball team and a memorable graduate season this winter for Widener.

Former Notre Dame High standout Kane totaled 698 points in his four seasons at Drew and then averaged 7.5 points and 3.3 rebounds a game this winter as he helped Widener go 24-5 and advance to the Round of 32 in the NCAA Division III tournament.

But while Kane produced many highlight moments in his college career, taking the court last Friday night for Princeton Supply as it faced Lob City to open its campaign in the Princeton Recreation Department Men’s Summer Basketball League held a special meaning for him.

“I am excited to play this year again,” said Kane, who helped Princeton Supply win the league title last year. “I am playing with some guys I played with in high school, so it is nice to play with these guys again. I love playing here in the summer, these guys make me so much better.”

In the early going against Lob City in a contest played in the Princeton Middle School gym, Princeton Supply didn’t play its best as it trailed 31-30 at halftime.

“We came out a little slow, a little sluggish,” said Kane. “It was the first game of the year so it was trying to get used to playing with each other again after taking the whole year off.”

Princeton Supply started the second half on a 12-4 run to take a 42-35 lead, but Lob City battled back to forge ahead 46-4. Showing its championship pedigree, Princeton Supply responded by outscoring its foes 17-6 in pulling away to a 61-52 win.

“I think we picked it up in the second half with more defensive energy,” said Kane. “We have guys who are just so good with their hands, picking balls left and right. It is crazy.”

Kane picked up his game, scoring eight straight points early in the second half to help spark the Princeton Supply offense.

“I got going a little bit, it is always nice when I make my first shot of the game,” said Kane, who ended up with 14 points, six rebounds and three assists in the victory. “I know that I am feeling it and I had that confidence going into the second half. I shot when I was open, it is what the team needs out of me.”

Playing with Quayson Williams helps Kane feel confident on the court.

“He is such a good player,” said Kane of Williams. “He makes me so much better, he is so smart. I love playing with him and every one of these guys. They are such good players.”

While Kane and his teammates would have liked to open the summer with a one-sided win, getting pushed hard by Lob City helped steel them for the battles ahead.

“You want to get tested early, you want to see how you are mentally as a team,” said Kane. “If a team pushed you around, it is all about how you respond.”

Coach Phil Vigliano, the Princeton Supply manager, credited defense with paving the way for the win.

“We were letting that team get a little bit of confidence so I figured to take it away from them we had to press,” said Vigliano. “They only had six guys tonight and we have athletes, so let’s get up and down. I want them to commit every play. That’s not possible but I am trying to get 80 or 90 percent and I hope that is enough.”

Vigliano likes the commitment he gets from Kane on a game in, game out basis.

“Mike is probably our smartest player, he is unselfish and he can score in different facets of the game,” said Vigliano, who got a balanced scoring effort in the win as Willams and Terry Taylor also scored 14 points with Peter Sorber contributing 10. “Mike knows Julian McGowan, he went to Notre Dame. Peter went to Notre Dame and Troy Jones went to Notre Dame. We have four Notre Dame guys. You can tell when they come that they are looking forward to playing.”

Seeing his team pull out the win in the opener was a good sign for Vigliano.

“That is always why I want them to play hard to the end of the game,” said Vigliano.

“Psychologically, I want them to think it is a one possession game, we might be in that a few times. You hear me say continue to keep playing, you just never know. We might not be in a lot of tough games so you have to take the ones that you have and then maximize at the end of the game, not being sloppy and finishing the game like you started it.”

Kane, for his part, believes that Princeton Supply’s defensive intensity will make it tough to beat this summer.

“We have pretty much all of our returning guys from last year and we are adding Zahrion Blue,” said Kane, referring to the former Princeton High and Rider University standout. “We want our defense to create our offense; we are at our best in the open court with the pressure. Guys aren’t really used to pressure in the backcourt in the summer league. Defense leads to offense with easy points, easy kick-out 3s, easy layups, all of that sort of thing.”