January 26, 2022

TRIPLE PLAY: Princeton High girls’ track star Ada Metaxas displays the medal she earned for placing first in the triple jump at the Mercer County Championships last Friday. Senior Metaxas, who also took fourth in the long jump and sixth in the 55-meter hurdles at the meet, helped PHS place fourth in the team standings with 47 1/3 points, just two points behind third-place West Windsor-Plainsboro High North.

By Justin Feil

Ada Metaxas proved you’re never too old to learn.

Metaxas may be a senior in her second year as one of the Princeton High track and field team’s sprints and jumps captains, but she felt the pressure of her expectations and challenges outside of her control in a fourth-place showing in the girls’ long jump at the Mercer County Championships on Friday at Lawrenceville School. She responded barely a half-hour later to record a personal-record 34’11 to win the county girls’ triple jump title.

“It meant a lot,” said Metaxas. “I was surprised. Not that I didn’t expect it, but it wasn’t the event I thought I would win. I thought I would win long jump. My previous meets, that was my best event. A lot of it had to do with my mindset.”

Metaxas, who was put off by the cold temperatures at Lawrenceville’s indoor track, didn’t feel fully warmed up and loose, or as comfortable on the jumps runway as at some meets. She jumped 15’10½, a foot off her personal best, to finish behind three other competitors she thought she was confident that she could beat.

“I think I’ve had an expectation like that before,” said Metaxas. “Coming into it, it’s one of the first meets in the season, so I guess it was just a lot. I think having a more positive mentality going in, and just focusing on enjoying it, that’s what I need to focus on. By turning around that mentality, I was able to win the triple jump. That was a positive end to the night.” more

RAY OF HOPE: Princeton High girls’ basketball player Rachel Luo heads to the hoop in a game last season. Last Saturday, junior star Luo scored a team-high 13 points in a losing cause as PHS fell 53-31 to Montgomery. The Tigers, who moved to 5-4 with the defeat, play at Allentown on January 28 and then host Trenton Central on February 1. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

As Rachel Luo went through her pregame paces for the Princeton High girls’ basketball team when it hosted Robbinsville last week, she was hot from the perimeter.

“During warmups, I was feeling pretty good with my 3s,” said junior guard/forward Luo.

That feeling was a harbinger of things to come as Luo hit a pair of three-pointers in the first quarter. “I found I was open and I just shot it,” recalled Luo.

Despite Luo’s hot shooting, PHS found itself trailing the Ravens 18-8 at the end of the first quarter.

“We were rushing, especially under a lot of pressure,” said Luo.

“We were just not making good decisions. A lot of offensive plays that we ran in practice, we didn’t really go into.”

Facing a 36-14 deficit after three quarters, the Tigers showed some fight down the stretch, outscoring Robbinsville 10-7 in the fourth on the way to a 43-24 loss.

“A couple of our players were being more aggressive, we were just going all out, trying to get back a little bit,” said Luo, who ended up with 10 points in the game.

“That definitely helped a little bit once we got a few fouls and made a few shots and ran a few offensive plays.”

Luo has gone all out to improve as a player. “During the offseason, I just played,” said Luo, who scored a team 13 points in a losing cause as PHS fell 53-31 to Montgomery last Saturday to move to 5-4. more

LIGHTING IT UP: Princeton Day School girls’ basketball player Jen Lightman dribbles upcourt in a game earlier this season. Last Friday, sophomore guard Lightman scored 14 points to help PDS edge Doane Academy 36-33. The Panthers, who moved to 4-4 with the win, play at WW/P-North on January 27. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

After opting out of her freshman season with the Princeton Day School girls’ basketball team last winter due to COVID-19 concerns, Jen Lightman is back on the court and having a ball.

“Now that I am finally able to play, it is really nice just to be with the team environment and be around all of these people,” said Lightman.

“I love playing with them so much, it is great playing with them all.”

Lightman found herself in an exciting environment last Friday as the Panthers hosted Doane Academy with a raucous crowd on hand in the PDS Athletic Center. With the Panthers clinging to a 34-33 lead with 23.7 seconds left in regulation, Lightman went to the foul line and drained a free throw to give PDS some breathing room on the way to a 36-33 victory.

“I was so nervous going to the free throw line,” said Lightman, who ended up with 14 points in the win.

“The environment was really nerve-wracking because you have all of these people around you. It was really exciting for us.”

In the early stages, the Panthers jumped out to a 20-4 lead with some exciting play at the offensive end. more

FLYING HIGH: Hun School boys’ swimmer Gabe Huang displays his butterfly form in a race this season. Senior captain Huang has helped Hun get off to a 5-0-1 start this season. The Raiders will be competing in the Mercer County Championships from January 27-29 at WW/P-North. (Photo by Jamie McKee/The Hun School)

By Bill Alden

It may have been a tie, but it represented a triumphant moment for the Hun School boys’ swimming team.

Competing against nemesis Pennington, Hun dueled its foe to an 84-84 deadlock last Wednesday.

“It was very exciting, we had the lead going into the last relay,” said Hun head coach Joan Nuse, whose team moved to 5-0-1 with the tie.

“It was a little disappointing for the kids but they asked is this still historic and I said yes. I don’t think we had ever come close to them. As far as I am aware, we have never beaten them.”

In the meet against Pennington, junior Nick Danko placed first in both the 200 individual medley and 100 backstroke while senior Gabe Huang won the 500 freestyle and 100 breaststroke and senior Tom Goritschnig prevailed in the 200 free.

Danko has emerged and solidified his status as a key performer for the Raiders this winter.

“Nick is a great swimmer, he has always done whatever he could do,” said Nuse.

“He has big shoes to fill in terms of being Abbie’s  (former Hun star and current Bates College swimmer Abbie Danko) little brother. When we had our normal season right before the pandemic, he qualified for Easterns. He is a good swimmer. It is great for him to have a regular kind of season and get to going back to having counties this year.” more

SEEING RED: Princeton Day School boys’ hockey player Will Brown skates up the ice in recent action. Last Wednesday, junior defenseman Brown and the Panthers battled hard but came up short in a 4-0 loss to Lawrenceville as they resumed their rivalry with the Rig Red. PDS, which moved to 5-4-2 with a 4-2 defeat to Seton Hall last Friday, hosts St. Joe’s Montvale on January 26. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

After a hiatus of two years, the heated rivalry between the Princeton Day School boys’ hockey team and Lawrenceville, its neighbor five miles to the south down Route 206, was back on the ice last Wednesday evening.

While there were some attendance limitations at McGraw Rink, the sights and sounds were familiar.

A throng of PDS students arrived early and packed one end of the rink, many wearing Panther hockey jerseys and some holding up handwritten signs with some unfriendly messages for the visiting Big Red.

There was a buzz in the air as the players swirled through their warmups, banging pucks off the glass and whirring around the ice.

Once the opening whistle blew, the rivals went at each other with their traditional verve, delivering bone-crunching hits into the boards and producing end-to-end action.

After a period, the foes were knotted in a scoreless tie. “The first period went better than I could have dictated,” said PDS head coach Scott Bertoli. “Timmy [Miller] played great in goal.” more

January 19, 2022

GOING TO THE MATT: Princeton High wrestler Matt Ellsworth, top, controls a foe in recent action. Senior Ellsworth has gone 9-2 at 165 pounds this season, helping PHS produce a 7-0 start. In upcoming action, the Tigers have a match at Collingswood High on January 19 and a quad at Robbinsville on January 22 before hosting Allentown on January 24. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Justin Feil

Matt Ellsworth has transformed himself into an outstanding wrestler and team leader for the Princeton High squad over his career.

Senior Ellsworth is off to his best start at 9-2 at 165 pounds. He wasn’t in the varsity lineup as a freshmen, then posted an 11-21 season in his first year in the lineup as a sophomore. In the COVID-19 pandemic shortened season last year, he was 4-6.

“I think I’ve been doing well,” said Ellsworth. “I think I’ve improved a lot from years previous. I’m happy how things are going.”

Ellsworth is even happier with the way things have gone for the team. He is one of four seniors setting the tone for the Tigers, who are unbeaten through seven matches. PHS swept Notre Dame (52-24), Hamilton (57-18), and Hopatcong (65-6) in a quad on Saturday.

“New guys have stepped up which has helped us fill up the whole lineup,” said Ellsworth, who went 2-1 on the day.

“Every single day everyone in the room is pushing each other hard and feeding off each other’s energy. You’ll see at all the matches our bench is very lively cheering for other people on the team when they’re wrestling. The team is built like a strong, tight-knit community. It allows us to push each other and that’s reflected on the mat when we’re wrestling.” more

GETTING AFTER IT: Princeton Day School boys’ hockey player Rosheen Nissangaratchie, right, goes after the puck last Wednesday against Bergen Catholic. Junior forward Nissangaratchie tallied a goal to help PDS tie the Crusaders 1-1. The Panthers, who defeated St. Joseph (Montvale) 2-0 last Thursday to move to 5-2-2, host Lawrenceville on January 19 and Seton Hall on January 22 before playing at St. Peter’s on January 25. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Rosheen Nissangaratchie is making up for lost time as he has finally hit the ice for the Princeton Day School boys’ hockey team after transferring from the Delbarton School.

Sitting out for the first 30 days of the season under New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) rules, Nissangaratchie made his debut for PDS on January 3 against Pope John and picked up an assist as the Panthers prevailed 4-1.

Last Thursday, Nissangaratchie notched his first goal for the Panthers as PDS skated to a hard-fought 1-1 tie against visiting Bergen Catholic.

“I was just practicing,” said Nissangaratchie. “It felt so good to finally play a game at Pope John and then today, my first home game.”

Nissangaratchie’s tally came late in the first period as he got loose on a 3-on-2 rush.

“Will Brown made a nice pass,” recalled Nissangaratchie. “He pulled both defensemen and slides it over and I put it short side.” more

HALL PASS: Princeton Day School boys’ basketball player Jaden Hall fires a pass in recent action. Last Saturday, junior guard Hall scored a team-high 12 points in a losing cause as PDS fell 54-42 to Hopewell Valley. The Panthers, now 1-5, are slated to host the Doane Academy on January 21. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Before Jaden Hall took the court for the Princeton Day School boys’ basketball team against the Solebury School (Pa.) last week, he got some words of wisdom from his father.

“My dad told me to be aggressive and get your own shot,” said PDS junior guard Hall.

Following that advice, Hall tallied a career-high 18 points to provide a highlight as the Panthers fell 70-47 to Solebury in the January 11 contest.

After scoring four points in the first half, Hall tallied eight points in the third quarter and added six in the fourth.

“We were driving and kicking for threes,” said Hall, reflecting on his outburst. “We trusted our shooters and we trusted our ball handlers and started knocking down shots. I found my rhythm.”

Coming into this winter, Hall was looking to be more of a factor for the Panthers.

“Last year as a sophomore, I didn’t have that much of a role,” said Hall. “I have been working on my game to become a different type of player. Last year I was a catch and shoot type of guy so I am trying to focus on my ball-handling, being strong with the ball and cutting down on those turnovers. I started becoming more of a point guard type player.”

This past summer, Hall put in extra work to hone his skills.

“I played a lot of AAU ball,” said Hall. “I went to Baltimore to a MADE Hoops camp and got some good advice from a whole bunch of different coaches around Jersey and Pennsylvania. I started working out over the summer to get better as a player and help this team win.” more

STICKING WITH IT: Princeton Day School girls’ hockey player Natalie Celso controls the puck in game last season. Last Friday, senior defenseman Celso scored two goals to help PDS defeat Princeton High 11-1. The Panthers, who moved to 3-2 with the win, host the Portledge School (N.Y.) on January 19 and Morristown Beard on January 21 before playing at Trinity Hall on January 25. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Natalie Celso is looking to be more assertive this winter in her senior season for the Princeton Day School girls’ hockey team.

“I have been used to being a pretty quiet person on the team, I am trying to fill this big role,” said defensemen Celso.

“It is my first year really being in a leadership role for any team I have played with and it is big shoes to fill. It is fun and I think it is really helping me build confidence in myself and my own skills.”

Last Friday evening, Celso displayed her skills, tallying two goals to help PDS defeat crosstown rival Princeton High 11-1 at the Ice Land Rink and improve to 3-2.

“I was just able to keep my head straight and hold on to it,” said Celso. “I am working on trying not to panic with the puck.”

Coming off a frustrating 2-1 defeat to Summit on January 11, the Panthers were focused on finding the back of the net against PHS.

“We really wanted to work on scoring more,” said Celso. “We got stuck on the last game or so; we just had trouble putting the puck in the net. We definitely worked better together today than we have in the past games. When there is not as much pressure, it is really easy to start working on the things we have been struggling with.” more

THORNY SITUATION: Hun School boys’ basketball player Toby Thornburg puts up a shot in a game earlier this season. Last Thursday, senior forward Thornburg hit a three-pointer with 23.7 seconds left in the game to give Hun a 42-40 win over the Shipley School (Pa.) as it overcame a 40-34 deficit in the final minute of play. The Raiders, who defeated Trenton Catholic Prep 54-47 on Monday to improve to 7-6, host the Peddie School on January 19 and Germantown Academy (Pa.) on January 22. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Toby Thornburg struggled with his outside shooting as the Hun School boys’ basketball team hosted the Shipley School (Pa.) last Thursday evening.

Hun senior forward Thornburg was 0-for-6 from three-point range and had just a layup and a free throw as the contest headed into the final minute of regulation.

But with Hun trailing by 40-39 and 23.7 seconds left, Thornburg finally found the range, draining a three-pointer that proved to be the margin of victory as the Raiders pulled out a dramatic 42-40 win.

“It was a little hectic; Dan [Vessey] got a real good steal, somebody got a real good offensive rebound and it ended up with me,” said Thornburg.

“I was open so I was able to take it and make it. I don’t shoot it if I don’t feel like it is in.”

Thornburg’s shot culminated a frantic rally as Hun trailed 40-34 with 1:11 left in regulation and narrowed the gap as Dan Vessey made a put back after his steal and then Jack Scott hit a three-pointer to make it 40-39.

With Hun having rallied to beat Academy of New Church (Pa.) 89-88 on December 16 as Scott hit a buzzer beater, the Raiders weren’t fazed by the late deficit. more

January 12, 2022

NO BACKING DOWN: Princeton High girls’ swimming star Beatrice Cai displayed her backstroke form in a 200 individual medley race earlier this season. Last Thursday, junior Cai placed first in the 200 freestyle and the 100 backstroke as PHS defeated WW/P-South 125-45 to improve to 7-0. The team has now won 19 straight dual meets since losing in the Central Jersey Group B sectional semifinals in 2020. In upcoming action, the Tigers host Trenton on January 13 and Nottingham on January 18. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

After going through a season last winter where it could only compete virtually, swimming separately at its pool and then sharing times with foes to calculate meet scores, the Princeton High girls’ swim team was excited for a face-to-face battle at WW/P-South last Thursday.

With both squads bringing undefeated records into the clash of rivals at the WW/P-S bubble, there was plenty of emotion on the deck.

“The energy is totally different when we are all cheering, we get more motivated and faster compared to last year when it was just us,” said PHS junior star Beatrice Cai.

“It felt like we were racing against each other instead of another school. Sometimes you wouldn’t even know which school you were going against.”

Against WW/P-S, the Tigers showed plenty of energy, winning all eight individual races and the three relays in posting a 125-45 win and improving to 7-0.

“We were really pumped up for South,” said Cai, who placed first in the 200 freestyle and the 100 backstroke against the Pirates.

“We have been hyping up this meet for a little bit and we did really well. All our teammates tried our best, we did great. The team spirit was really great as well.” more

FREE AND CLEAR: Princeton High boys’ swimmer Julian Velazquez powers to victory in a 200 freestyle race this season. Last week, junior standout Velazquez helped PHS defeat Notre Dame 115-55 on January 4 and then post a 111-69 win over WW/P-S last Thursday. The Tigers have won 20 straight dual meets since losing in the Central Jersey Group B sectional final in 2020. PHS, now 8-0, hosts Trenton on January 13 and Nottingham on January 18. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

It was rivalry week for the Princeton High boys’ swimming team as it faced two of its historically toughest foes, Notre Dame and WW/P-South, in a three-day period.

Displaying its depth and talent, PHS passed both tests with flying colors, routing Notre Dame 115-55 on January 4 and then rolling to an impressive 111-69 win over WW/P-S last Thursday as it improved to 8-0.

Tiger sophomore star Alvin Tien and his teammates were fired up for the big week.

“We were very anxious against Notre Dame because they were known for being really good,” said Tien.

“When we faced them, everybody put in all their effort to push through and win. It was the same thing with South. These are the hardest meets and our whole team put in the effort and beat them.”

Against South, Tien took first in the 50 freestyle in 23.68 and the 100 backstroke in 1:00.00.

“It goes quickly, I felt I could have done better,” said Tien in assessing the 50 free race. more

SHOOTING STAR: Princeton High boys’ basketball player Jaxon Petrone puts up a shot against WW/P-North last week. Senior guard Petrine scored a team-high 17 points in the January 4 game as PHS pulled out a 48-45 win. Last Friday, Petrone scored 20 points in a losing cause as the Tigers fell 67-61 to Nottingham to move to 1-2. In upcoming action, PHS hosts Hopewell Valley on January 14 and then plays at North Brunswick on January 15 and at Robbinsville on January 18. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Jaxon Petrone and his teammates on the Princeton High boys’ basketball team were pumped to be hitting the court at WW/P-North last week to finally play their second game of the season after a two-week layoff.

PHS had its season opener at Hightstown on December 17 postponed, fell 54-33 to Hamilton on December 21, and then had another game postponed and a holiday tournament canceled.

“We were very excited to get out here, it stunk being at home,” said senior guard Petrone. “There were some nerves out there.”

Trailing 26-22 at intermission, PHS discussed blocking out the nerves and staying in the moment.

“We had a good talk out in the hallway at halftime,’ said Petrone. “It was, ‘we have just got to play, keep your head, no turnovers, get the ball, put it up and get it in the hoop.’”

Responding to that talk, the Tigers outscored WW/P-North 18-9 in the third quarter.

“We came out and hit a couple of shots and got hot,” recalled Petrone. “We settled in during the third quarter.”

Things got dicey down the stretch for PHS as it built a 44-35 lead only to see the Northern Knights respond with a 10-0 run. more

ON THE STICK: Princeton High boys’ hockey player Cooper Zullo, left, controls the puck in recent action. Junior forward Zullo scored three goals to help PHS defeat Lawrence 10-0 last Wednesday. The Tigers, who improved to 9-1-1 with the win, are scheduled to face the WWP Co-op on January 14 and the Hamilton Co-op on January 17 with both games to take place at Mercer County Park. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Cooper Zullo wasn’t expecting to be installed as the captain of the Princeton High boys’ hockey team this winter as a junior.

“I was talking to Dave (PHS head coach Dave Hansen) at the beginning of the year and he said he wanted me to have the captaincy,” said star forward Zullo.

“I am just trying to do as much as I can for the boys to be a leader. I have next year too, so I am pretty excited about that.”

Zullo’s leadership came in handy last week as PHS skated to a pair of victories, rallying from a 2-0 second period deficit to defeat Robbinsville-Allentown 5-4 on January 3 and then rolling to a 10-0 win over Lawrence last Wednesday.

In Zullo’s view, PHS showed its skill and character as it overcame a slow start to edge Robbinsville-Allentown.

“It was our first game after winter break so there was definitely a little bit of rust on our part. Coach [Dan] Bergan does a good job with them and they are a good team,” said Zullo, who scored a goal in the win.

“I think they wanted it more than we did but we came out in the end. It was definitely a good game by the boys and Johnny [O’Donnell] had the big goal at the end. It was definitely a good game to get back in the swing of things for 2022.”

In the Lawrence game, Zullo got things going for the Tigers, scoring a goal 42 seconds into the contest and then assisting on two others as PHS built a 3-0 first period lead and cruised from there.

“It was the same old, same old, we didn’t know much about them,” said Zullo, who ended up with three goals in the victory. “We tried to move the puck as much as we could.” more

January 5, 2022

SPEED SKATING: Princeton Day School boys’ hockey player Ryan Vandal races up the ice in a recent game. Last Monday, junior forward Vandal scored a goal to help PDS defeat Pope John 4-1. The Panthers, now 4-2-1, host Bergen Catholic on January 6. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

As the Princeton Day School boys’ hockey team has made its debut this season in the highly-competitive Gordon Conference, it has been a bit of bumpy ride.

PDS has posted a 3-2-1 record in Gordon play in going 4-2-1 overall.

“The nice thing about being part of this conference is that every one of our games is a meaningful game,” said PDS head coach Scott Bertoli, whose team topped Pope John 4-1 last Monday in a conference game to avenge a 3-2 defeat to the Lions in the season opener.

“I am excited to come off the break, hopefully the kids are refreshed. I think club hockey has slowed down a little bit.”

Bertoli acknowledges that the season could be slowed by postponements due to the COVID surge resulting from the Omicron variant.

“That is going to be everyone’s reality over the course of the next few weeks; we talked about it today at practice,” said Bertoli.

“I just said we have to plan to play. We will prepare and have ourselves ready until someone tells us otherwise. That is the focus.”

In their last action before the holiday break, the Panthers lacked their usual focus as they fell 7-1 to the Christian Brothers Academy. more

COMING THROUGH: Hun School girls’ basketball player Erin Maguire drives between two foes in recent action. Post-graduate Maguire, a native of Ireland, is leading Hun in points (133), assists (27), rebounds (52), and steals (32) as the Raiders have gotten off to a 3-5 start. In upcoming action, Hun is slated to host Friere Charter School (Pa.) on January 11. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Although the Hun School girls’ basketball team suffered defeats in its last two contests before going on holiday break, Bill Holup wasn’t discouraged.

“I thought our defense in both games before the break was good,” said Hun head coach Holup, whose team fell 43-31 to Friends Central (Pa.) on December 16 and 32-23 to Germantown Friends (Pa.) on December 14 and is bringing a 3-5 record into 2022.

“They were very low scoring games. We had couple of girls who were out and that hurt a bit. Offensively we have been struggling a bit in the last couple of games. We just haven’t been able to find the bottom of the net. Our defense has actually kept us competitive.”

In Holup’s view, facing competitive foes will steel his squad for the challenges ahead.  

“My emphasis to the girls after our last game against Friends Central is that this is going to prepare us for the MAPL (Mid-Atlantic Prep League) games when we see Lawrenceville, Peddie, Hill, Mercersburg, and Blair,” said Holup. “It is good to play tough competition and hopefully we will be ready for our league games. You never like to have a losing record but the schedule that we have played with the Peddie tournament and playing these Friends schools will certainly prepare us.” more

GIFT OF GAB: Stuart Country Day School basketball player Gaby Velazquez brings the ball up the court in a recent game. Senior guard Velazquez has helped Stuart get off to a 2-2 start. In upcoming action, the Tartans Lawrenceville on January 6, St. Benedict’s on January 7, and Life Center Academy on January 11. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

The “next man up” mentality, whereby a starting player can be replaced smoothly by a substitute, has become prevalent throughout the sporting world.

This winter, Justin Leith is employing a next girl up philosophy for his Stuart Country Day School basketball team in the wake of losing six seniors to graduation.

Getting off to a 2-2 start before the holiday break, the new-look Tartans are growing into their roles.

“We are relying a whole new group of people to be contributors,” said Stuart head coach Leith.

“They are forced to because there is nobody else and they have so it is cool.”

Sticking to the staples of the program has helped the revamped lineup come together.

“I am really happy that the culture has been consistent with essentially a new team,” said Leith.

“All of the small things that, when you start a new program, you forget. It takes time for your expectations to be met. It is small things, like making sure that the bench is alive during games at all times, that they are sprinting to the locker room at halftime and after the game and when they are substituting, making sure they are high-fiving the replacement. There were a few reminders early on but the girls embraced it. I think that is the reason we have won the two games that we have. It is the attention to detail and those small things go a long way.” more

December 29, 2021

MAX EFFORT: Princeton University men’s basketball player Max Johns guards a foe in a game earlier this season. Last week, senior guard Johns scored a career-high 13 points in 13 minutes off the bench to help Princeton defeat Kean University 100-59. The Tigers, who improved to 10-3 with the win in the December 21 contest, are slated to play at Harvard on January 2 to start Ivy League action. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

After finishing fall semester exams last week, the Princeton University men’s basketball team passed its final test before starting Ivy League play with flying colors.

Hosting Division III foe Kean University on December 21, Princeton rolled to a 100-59 win at Jadwin Gym as it improved to 10-3.

“It is an important game for us to play coming out of exams,” said Princeton head coach Mitch Henderson, whose team hit the 100-point mark for the first time in a game that ended in regulation since its 108-46 victory over Rowan College on November 25, 2016.

“I think Kean is a really well coached team. I am pleased that we are 10-3 wrapping it up. We know exactly where we need to focus. We have got a really tough test coming out of break when we play at Harvard.”

With Princeton slated to play at Harvard on January 2 to start Ivy action, Henderson is expecting some tough challenges in league play.

“The league is good,” said Henderson. “We are watching everyone very closely. I think it is going to be a rock fight.”

Senior guard Max Johns, who scored a career-high 13 points in 13 minutes off the bench against Kean, saw the game as good tune up for the Ivy opener.

“It was good to play someone else and show off what we are good at,” said Johns, a 6’4, 205-pound native of Hugh Point, N.C., who is averaging 3.5 points and 1.5 rebounds in 13 appearances this season off the bench.

“I think it is also good to identify what we need to work on and that game was good for that. Defensively, me personally but the team in general probably needs to do a better job of being in position early and not fouling.”

In the view of sophomore guard Matt Allocco, the Tigers are making progress. more

TEXAS TWO STEP: Princeton University women’s basketball player Abby Meyers heads to the hoop last Wednesday against Texas. Senior star Meyers scored a game-high 21 points, but it wasn’t enough as Princeton fell 70-53 to the Longhorns. The Tigers, now 7-4, are slated to host Harvard on January 2 in the Ivy League opener for both teams. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Hosting 12th-ranked Texas last Wednesday afternoon, the Princeton University women’s basketball team needed some early heroics by Abby Meyers to stay in the game.

With the Longhorns applying its trademark swarming defense, Meyers was the only player on Princeton who scored in the first quarter as Texas built a 15-8 lead. 

“That is an NCAA tournament type game for us, we know we need to make our shots,” said 6’0 senior guard Meyers.

“We have to be ready on our home court to knock them down, but then again, it was their defense. They got up into us and maybe that contributed to the poor shots or misses.”

While Meyers kept hitting shots, drawing Princeton to within 35-31 midway through the third quarter on a layup, the Longhorns wore down the Tigers as they pulled away to a 70-53 victory.

“The game is about runs, it depends on who has the hot hand and give it to them,” said Meyers, who ended up with a game-high 21 points in the defeat and is now averaging a team-high 17.7 points and 5.5 rebounds a game. more

December 22, 2021

ACTION JAXON: Princeton High boys’ basketball player Jaxon Petrone looks to unload the ball in game last winter. PHS was slated to tip off its 2021-22 season last Friday at Hightstown but that game was canceled due to COVID-19 issues within the Ram program. The Tigers are currently scheduled to play at Hightstown on December 23 and then compete in a holiday tournament at Livingston High on December 27 and 29. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Over the last two years, the offense for the Princeton High boys’ basketball team ran through point guard Tim Evidente and forward Ethan Guy.

With the two stars having graduated, PHS will be adopting a more free form style this winter.

“We are going to go to a position-less offense,” said Tiger head coach Pat Noone, who guided PHS to a 2-7 record last winter in a season abbreviated by COVID-19 concerns. “I think everybody is very interchangeable this year and versatile.”

That approach resonated with the players as they went through the preseason.

“It has been going good, the guys are really working hard,” said Noone, whose team was slated to open its season by playing at Hightstown last Friday but the game was canceled due to COVID issues within the Rams program.

“They are having a good time and they are starting the click, jell and play better.”

PHS, which is currently scheduled to play at Hightstown on December 23 and then compete in a holiday tournament at Livingston High on December 27 and 29, will be looking for a good season from senior standout Jaxon Petrone. more

INSIDE PRESENCE: Princeton High girls’ basketball player Nora Devine, right, goes up for a shot last Friday against Hightstown in the season opener for both teams. Senior standout forward Devine scored a team-high 14 points, but it wasn’t nearly enough as PHS fell 60-37 to the Rams. The Tigers were slated to host Hamilton West on December 21 before the holiday break and then return to action by hosting WW/P-North on January 4. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Becoming a serous rower has helped Nora Devine get better on the basketball court for the Princeton High girls’ hoops team.

“I rowed for the Mercer junior team in the fall and spring and I am actually doing both right now,” said Devine, who is headed to Syracuse University where she will compete for its Division I women’s rowing program.

“I got in super good shape. I am just happy to be back and play, I wasn’t able to row all fall because I was hurt. It has translated to the court. My speed and agility and overall athleticism has improved.”

Last Friday evening, Devine displayed some of that athleticism, scoring a team-high 14 points in a losing cause as PHS fell 60-37 to visiting Hightstown in the season opener for both teams.

“I got some great passes inside and I took advantage when their taller girl was out,” said Devine, reflecting on her performance.

“It was definitely fun to play against someone that tall, I don’t think I have ever played against anyone that tall, so it was a good experience. That is what I am here for, being aggressive inside.” more

FAST START: Princeton High girls’ swimmer Lucy Liu competes in a freestyle race last winter. Senior standout Liu has helped PHS produce a 5-0 start this season. The Tigers were slated to wrap up the 2021 portion of their schedule by hosting Hopewell Valley on December 21 and will return to action when they host Notre Dame on January 4. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

After both the Princeton High boys’ and girls’ swimming teams went 12-0 last winter, the squads are picking up where they left off so far in the 2021-22 campaign.

Featuring talent and depth throughout their lineups, the teams have gotten off to 5-0 starts, looking dominant in the process.

“The biggest thing that is really cool for us is numbers, we have almost 30 or 35 on each team which is huge,” said PHS head coach Carly Misiewicz, who guides both squads.

“Last year for the girls was maybe 20 or 21 and for the boys, it was 13. It was amazing that we were able to do what we did last year. I think that is why we are even more excited for this year.”

With increased depth, Misiewicz is able to mix and match the talent at her disposal.

“I can get more people in different races, we can swim different things,” said Misiewicz.

“We have so much more flexibility this year. We don’t just have to specialize and say you are always swimming these two events. The beauty is that I am able to do this with both boys and girls. A lot of the people we have are very versatile. The other teams are never going to know what they are going to get. I have already done five totally different lineups this year.” more

FROST ADVISORY: Hun School boys’ hockey player Riley Frost controls the puck in recent action. Senior forward Frost has tallied three goals and six assists to help Hun get off to a 5-5 start. The Raiders are next in action when they host Don Bosco on January 6. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

While the Hun School boys’ hockey team has gotten off to an up-and-down 5-5 start, Ian McNally believes the record is not an accurate barometer of his squad’s potential.

“Everybody we have played has been good, we have shown each other that there is something here and we are not out of it in either of our leagues,” said Hun head coach McNally, whose program competes in both the Mid-Atlantic Hockey League (MAHL) and the
Atlantic Prep Athletic Conference (APAC).

“There is potential to play for playoff spots and the hope to have a big finish. In some of these pretty disappointing losses against PDS (a 2-1 defeat on December 1) and Lawrenceville (a 5-4 defeat on December 14) where you feel like you deserved better, maybe that comes back around in the end. There is enough optimism there for that, we have had some big moments so far. The biggest takeaway is the proof, showing each other we can beat all of these teams.”

The Raiders came tantalizingly close to beating Lawrenceville, taking a 4-1 lead early in the third period only to see the Big Red score four unanswered goals to pull out the win.

“They scored early and then we got up 3-1, it was a very similar game a few weeks ago when we were in Pittsburgh,” said McNally.

“We played Hoosac (N.Y.) and we won 4-1. It was fast, hard. We were getting our shots and competing and we made the best of our chances. In the Lawrenceville game, they were never not there. They probably could have scored on some other occasions. We were holding on but as soon as it started to go, it went in a hurry.” more

FINISHING TOUCH: Princeton Day School girls’ basketballTochi Owunna heads upcourt last Saturday against West Windsor/Plainsboro-North. Sophomore forward Owunna scored eight points to help PDS defeat the Northern Knights 30-23 and improve to 1-1. In upcoming action, the Panthers will be taking part in a holiday tournament at South Hunterdon High from December 28-29. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Undeterred by losing 63-22 to George School (Pa.) in its season opener last Friday, the Princeton Day School girls’ basketball team brought confidence into its matchup against visiting West Windsor/Plainsboro-North on Saturday morning.

“We wanted to win because we had played them in a scrimmage,” said PDS sophomore forward Tochi Owunna. “This was a winnable game.”

Trailing the Northern Knights 7-4 after the first quarter, the Panthers got things going in the second, building a 15-10 lead by halftime.

“I think we got a lot of energy,” said Owunna, reflecting on the second quarter surge which saw her contribute four points.

“We were passing the ball on offense well and we were playing really good defense.”

The Panthers held off WW/P-N down the stretch to earn a 30-23 win with Owunna ending up with eight points.

“This gave me confidence,” said Owunna of her performance. “It was also just the morale of the whole team, there was just really good energy the whole game.”

The Panthers did run low on energy in the latter stages of the contest as they tired playing in their second game in less than 24 hours.

“In the fourth quarter we started to get a little tired so went to the 2-3 but we still held our own on defense,” said Owunna. “This was our first home game so it was a really good job.” more

December 15, 2021

LOCKED IN: Princeton High boys’ hockey player Ethan Garlock controls the puck in recent action. Last Friday, junior defenseman Garlock tallied a goal and an assist to help PHS defeat Hopewell Valley 5-0. The Tigers, who defeated Nottingham 10-4 last Monday to improve to 4-1-1, play at Tenafly on December 17 to wrap up the 2021 portion of their schedule. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

It is a good thing for the Princeton High boys’ hockey team when there is a Garlock wearing No. 4 and playing at defenseman for the squad.

From 2014-18, Max Garlock starred along the blue line for PHS with the No. 4 on his sweater, helping the Tigers make runs to the state tournament semis in his junior and senior seasons.

Inspired by his older brother, junior Ethan Garlock is following the family tradition, emerging as a standout defensemen for PHS.

“I definitely got into hockey because of him,” said Garlock of his older brother.

“He taught me a lot through the years, especially in my driveway helping me out and doing stuff with him. I am really grateful.”

Last Friday against Hopewell Valley, Garlock showed how well he learned those lessons, tallying an assist and a goal as PHS jumped out to a 2-0 lead and never looked back on the way to a 5-0 victory.

Just under four minutes into the contest, Garlock’s assist came on a feed to senior star Cooper Zullo, who ended up scoring three goals in the victory.

“I had the puck down low and I saw Cooper wide open on that so that was a given,” said Garlock. more