January 17, 2024

DOING HIS BESS: Princeton High boys’ basketball player Michael Bess Jr. controls the ball in a game earlier this season. Last Friday, sophomore guard Bess scored a team-high 12 points in a losing cause as PHS fell 53-46 to visiting Nottingham. The Tigers, who lost 66-49 at the Pingry School last Saturday to move to 5-5, host Allentown on January 19 and Florence on January 20. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

The first quarter was painful for Michael Bess Jr. and the Princeton High boys’ basketball team as the Tigers hosted Nottingham last Friday.

PHS ended the quarter trailing 8-4, mustering just two buckets on nearly 20 shots while sophomore guard Bess took a knock.

“We just started off slow, that is how we have been in a couple of games,” said Bess. “I cut my hand in the first.” more

TAKING HER SHOT: Princeton High girls’ hockey Maya Hagt, right, fires a shot in a game last winter. Last Friday, junior forward/defender and team captain Hagt scored a goal PHS fell 8-3 to Cranford. The Tigers, now 1-6, play the Lawrenceville JV on January 18 at Hobey Baker Rink. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Maya Hagt and the Princeton High girls’ hockey team started 2024 with a bang.

With junior forward/defender and team captain Hagt chipping in a goal, PHS defeated Newark East Side 4-1 last Wednesday in its initial action of the new year as the program posted its first win since 2022. more

STATING HER CASE: Stuart Country Day School basketball player Taylor States heads to the hoop in recent action. Last Thursday, forward States posted a double-double with 17 points and 11 rebounds in a 72-41 loss to Morristown-Beard. The Tartans, who moved to 2-3 with the defeat, play at the College Achieve Central Charter on January 17 before hosting the Pennington School on January 23. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Taylor States has set the bar high for herself this winter in her sophomore season for the Stuart Country Day School basketball team.

Last Thursday, forward States posted a double-double with 17 points and 11 rebounds in a 72-41 loss to Morristown-Beard, but she was not satisfied by her performance. more

GIFT OF GAB: Hun School girls’ basketball player Gabby D’Agostino goes in for a layup in recent action. Last Wednesday, sophomore guard D’Agostino scored 28 points to help Hun defeat Pennington 58-53 in double overtime. The Raiders, who moved to 7-10 with a 46-34 loss to Christian Academy Blue (Md.) last Saturday in the Rose Classic Super Jam in Brooklyn, N.Y., play at the Peddie School on January 17 and at the Blair Academy on January 23. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Gabby D’Agostino was looking to be a crowd-pleaser for the Hun School girls’ basketball team as it hosted the Pennington School last Wednesday.

“We only have five home games,” said sophomore guard D’Agostino, who transferred to Hun this year from New Hope-Solebury (Pa.). “So being able to have them show out, we really just want to win for them because we don’t get a lot of these.” more

January 10, 2024

STROKES OF BRILLIANCE: Princeton High boys’ swimmer David Brophy heads to a win in a freestyle race earlier this season. Last Friday, junior standout Brophy placed first in the 100-yard butterfly and the 500 freestyle as PHS topped WW/P-South 124-46. The Tigers, who defeated Nottingham 121-49 last Monday to improve to 9-0, host Trenton on January 11. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

For David Brophy and the Princeton High boys’ swimming team, facing formidable rivals Notre Dame and WW/P-South last week figured to be key midseason litmus tests.

“They are two very competitive teams, we were really excited for the meets and the competition in there,” said PHS junior standout Brophy. “I know a couple of kids from the other teams, it is always good to race against them.”

Brophy competed hard through the week, taking first in the 100-yard butterfly and second in the 500 freestyle as PHS defeated Notre Dame 117-53 last Wednesday. more

CHARLES IN CHARGE: Princeton High boys’ hockey player Charles Ross controls the puck in recent action. Senior forward and co-captainRoss has tallied seven points on three goals and four assists so far this season to rank second on the team in scoring behind Brendan Beatty (10 points on 7 goals, 3 assists). PHS, which moved to 1-4 with a 9-1 loss to Middletown North last Wednesday, faces Hopewell Valley on January 10 and Robbinsville on January 12 with both games to be played at the Mercer County Skating Center. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Showing rust after not having played a game in 15 days, the Princeton High boys’ hockey team dug an early hole as it faced Middletown North last Wednesday night in its first action of 2024.

PHS fell behind 4-0 seven minutes into the contest. While the Tigers did get on the board with a goal by Liam Campbell midway through the second period to make it a 5-1 game, PHS couldn’t find a rhythm as it fell 9-1.

“It was a tough team to come out against; we never got it going, we were chasing the whole game,” said Tiger head coach Rik Johnson, whose team dropped to 1-4 with the setback. “There were flashes but at no point did it feel like they were poised to come back.” more

AIR JORDAN: Princeton Day School boys’ basketball player Jordan Owens flies to the hoop in a game earlier this season. Last Friday, sophomore guard Owens scored 16 points to help PDS edge Hamilton West 39-36. The Panthers, who improved to 3-5 with the victory, host Steinert on January 12 before playing at Princeton High on January 16. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Starting 2024 with a bang, the Princeton Day School boys’ basketball team pulled out a 50-46 win at Notre Dame High in overtime on January 2.

“It was a great win for our program, playing against a really good team that has a great tradition,” said PDS head coach Eugene Burroughs. “I was excited for our kids to go in there and battle and compete and really just find a way to win.”

A day later, the Panthers battled hard against the Solebury School (Pa.), trailing 31-22 at halftime before fading in the second half on the way to a  69-41 setback. more

FIGHTER JETTE: Hun School boys’ hockey player Charles-Etienne Jette, right, goes after the puck in a game last season. Last Thursday, senior defenseman Jette contributed an assist as Hun fell 4-2 to Don Bosco Prep. The Raiders, now 2-5, face the Portledge School (N.Y.) at the Beaver Dam Winter Sports Club in Locust Valley, N.Y., on January 11 before hosting St. Augustine Prep on January 16 at the Ice Land Skating Center. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Julien Arseneault was primed to step up for the Hun School boys’ hockey team as it hosted powerhouse Don Bosco Prep last Thursday.

“I was ready, it is a big team,” said Hun senior goalie Arsenault of the clash with the Ironmen, who came into the game ranked as the No. 1 team in the state by NJ.com. “It is a challenge for me so I love it.”

Arseneault proved to be  up for the challenge, looking sharp from the start, making 10 saves in the first period as the foes battled to a 1-1 tie. In the second period, Arseneault took things to a higher level, holding Don Bosco scoreless as he made 15 stops. more

January 3, 2024

UPLIFTING EXPERIENCE: Princeton High wrestling star Blasé Mele lifts a foe off his feet in a bout during his freshman campaign. Last Thursday, junior Mele earned pair of wins over nationally ranked opponents at the Sam Cali Invitational to earn the 138-pound title on the FDU-Florham campus. Fellow PHS junior Cole Rose also excelled at the invite-only competition, taking third at 126. The Tigers will return to the mats on January 6 at Moorestown for a quad meet before hosting Nottingham in a dual meet January 10. (Photo provided by PHS Wrestling)

By Justin Feil

Blasé Mele has been talking the talk and now the Princeton High School junior is walking the walk.

Mele earned a pair of wins over nationally ranked opponents at the Sam Cali Invitational to earn the 138-pound title last Thursday on the FDU-Florham campus. The title itself wasn’t the big achievement; it was the caliber of opponents that Mele knocked off to win it.

Mele defeated FloWrestling’s 17th-ranked Joseph Joyce of Ponaganset (R.I.) in sudden victory overtime in the quarterfinals for his first huge win. After pinning Jake Zaltsman of state power St. John Vianney in the semifinals, Mele battled back to force overtime before taking a 3-1 win over seventh-ranked Billy Dekraker of Blair Academy, one of the best high school programs in the country. more

COMING THROUGH: Princeton High boys’ basketball player Jahan Owusu dribbles past a foe in a game earlier this season. Last Friday, senior guard Owusu scored a game-high 18 points to help PHS defeat North Hunterdon 55-49 in the Cougar Classic at Montgomery High. The Tigers, who moved to 3-2 with the win, play at Trenton Central on January 5 at and at Hamilton West on January 9. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Jahan Owusu returned from the holiday break on a roll as the Princeton High boys’ basketball team faced Bridgewater-Raritan last Wednesday in the Cougar Classic at Montgomery High.

Senior guard Owusu tallied six points as PHS built a 21-16 lead over the Panthers in the first quarter.

“I feel like we were playing really well in the first half,” said Owusu. “We were hitting shots. Everybody was moving and cutting; everyone was getting involved today.” more

SHARK ATTACK: Princeton High girls’ basketball player Katie Sharkey dribbles upcourt in a game last winter. Last Thursday, Sharkey tallied a game-high 18 points in a losing cause as PHS fell 50-39 to Somerville in the semifinals of the WW/P-North Holiday Tournament. The Tigers, who defeated WW/P-South 41-20 last Saturday in the third place game at the tourney to move to 3-3, host Trenton Central on January 5 and Hamilton West on January 9. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

With the Princeton High girls’ basketball team trailing Somerville 43-27 last Thursday in the semifinals of the WW/P-North Holiday Tournament, Katie Sharkey caught fire from the perimeter.

PHS sophomore forward Sharkey drained three 3-pointers in a three-minute span in the fourth quarter as the Tigers tried to put together a rally.

“I think I am always feeling it,” said Sharkey, who ended up with a game-high 18 points but it wasn’t enough as Somerville prevailed 50-39. “It is mostly confidence, especially with shooting.” more

JACKED UP: Princeton Day School boys’ hockey player Liam Jackson controls the puck in recent action. Senior star forward Jackson tallied a goal and an assist to help PDS edge Seton Hall Prep 3-2 in overtime on December 21 in its last action before the holiday break. The Panthers, now 4-2, start the 2024 portion of their schedule by facing LaSalle College High (Pa.) on January 3 at the Hatfield Ice Arena and the Pingry School at the Bridgewater Sports Arena on January 4 before hosting St. Joseph Montvale High on January 8. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

As the Princeton Day School boys’ hockey team hosted Seton Hall Prep in its last action before the holiday break, Liam Jackson got smashed into the ice late in the second period.

Looking shaky after taking the hit which drew a penalty, PDS senior star forward Jackson skated gingerly over to the bench, seemingly finished for the game.

While Jackson was in pain, he did return to the December 21 contest. more

BIG MAC: Hun School boys’ basketball player Mac Kelly heads to the hoop in a game last winter. Senior guard Kelly starred as Hun posted two wins over Malvern Prep (Pa.) and Germantown Academy (Pa.) before the holiday break to improve to 5-5. Getting the 2024 portion of their schedule underway, the Raiders host the Pennington School on January 4, the Solebury School (Pa.) on January 6, and West Nottingham Academy (Md.) on January 9. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

In his second season with the Hun School boys’ basketball team, Mac Kelly has been taking command of the squad’s backcourt.

With standout guards Dan Vessey and Anthony Loscalzo having graduated after starring last winter, senior standout Kelly is shouldering more responsibility this winter.

“Last year was my first year here, I was trying to transition and be a point guard,” said Kelly. “We have got a lot of new guys and I am just trying to do my best with finding a balance between being a scorer and being a point guard. As your time goes on here, naturally your role on a team is going to get bigger and bigger. I am just trying to do my best to handle that.” more

December 27, 2023

SWEET SUCCESS: Princeton University men’s basketball player Tosan Evbuomwan heads to the basket in the Ivy League tournament. Senior star Evbuomwan helped the Tigers win the Ivy tournament and then go on to a magical run to the NCAA Sweet 16, the first time the program advanced that far since the tourney was expanded to 64 teams in 1985. The 15th-seeded Tigers upset second-seeded Arizona and seventh-seeded Missouri before falling to sixth-seeded Creighton. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

For local sports programs, 2023 turned out to be a year that will be remembered for some of most stirring postseason runs in recent years.

Over at Princeton University, the men’s basketball team captivated hoops fans across the country last March as it advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16 for the first time since the tournament was expanded to 64 teams in 1985. The Tiger women’s hoops team produced a special run of its own as it made the second round of the NCAA tourney for a second straight year. Senior Patrick Glory made history for Tiger wrestling, winning the NCAA title at 125 pounds, earning the second-ever national title for the program and the first since Bradley Glass won the heavyweight crown in 1951. Princeton track and field star Sondre Guttormsen won the pole vault at the NCAA Indoor Championships, making it two straight titles for him at the meet. more

OH HENRY: Princeton High boys’ swimmer Henry Xu displays his breaststroke form in a recent meet. Last Thursday, senior star Xu swam the breaststroke leg in the victorious 200-yard medley relay, placed fourth in the 200 individual medley, and then won the 100 breast as PHS topped Hopewell Valley 120-50 and Ewing 140-28 in a tri-meet. The Tigers are next in action when they face Notre Dame at The College of New Jersey on January 3. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Henry Xu focused on the butterfly when he started competitive swimming but eventually found he was better suited for another stroke.

“I used to be a flyer a long time ago, then I became a breaststroker,” said Xu, a senior standout for the Princeton High boys’ swim team. “It has been my go-to stroke for four or five years. What is interesting about me is my physique isn’t a like a normal breaststroke physique like bulky, huge. I work on the technique; my stroke rate is fast and it is pretty precise.” more

BREAKING FREE: Princeton High girls’ swimmer Annie Flanagan competes in a freestyle race in a meet earlier this season. Last Thursday, sophomore Flanagan placed first in the 200-yard freestyle and 100 back to help PHS defeat Hopewell Valley 132-38. The Tigers, now 5-0, will look to keep on the winning track when they face Notre Dame at The College of New Jersey on January 3. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Joining the Princeton High girls’ swim team last winter, Annie Flanagan was a bit apprehensive about how things would go.

“I was definitely really nervous coming in, being a freshman,” said Flanagan.

Overcoming her nerves, Flanagan ended up thriving in the team environment, emerging as a key performer for a PHS squad that went 14-0 on the way to winning the Mercer County championship meet and New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) Group B state title. more

December 20, 2023

COLE POWER: Princeton High wrestler Cole Rose, top, controls a foe in a 2022 bout. Last Saturday, junior star Rose took second at 126 pounds in the Wendy Pandy-Leh Wrestling Invitational at Delaware Valley. Fellow junior Blase Mele placed first at 138 as the Tigers took sixth in the team standings of the event won by host Del Val. PHS hosts WW/P-South on December 20 in its first dual of the season. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Justin Feil

The Princeton High wrestling team is testing its strength early with several difficult challenges.

The Tigers wrestled in the Wendy Pandy-Leh Wrestling Invitational at Delaware Valley on Saturday. PHS placed sixth among a strong contingent of statewide teams, and the opportunity was just what the Tigers were looking for in the first month of a season in which there are big expectations for PHS.

“There were some very good quality teams from across the state of New Jersey,” said PHS head coach Jess Monzo. “There were teams from up north in Bergen County, teams from down south like Williamstown and Woodstown, Del Val is terrific, and some schools from the shore. You saw a little bit of everything, each kind of New Jersey’s style, which was great. You can’t get that a lot and it’s good to expose your kids to it early and then correct what they might have done wrong or got beat up with before we see that later on in the season.” more

GOING TO GOAL: Princeton High girls’ hockey player Maya Hagt heads up the ice in a game last season. On Friday, junior forward Hagt tallied a goal and an assist as PHS fell 9-7 to Newark East Side at Hobey Baker Rink. The Tigers, who moved to 0-4 with an 8-7 loss to Cranford last Monday, host Madison High on December 20 at Baker Rink in their last action before the holiday break. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

While Taylor Davidson has been skating since she was three years old, she didn’t start taking ice hockey seriously until middle school.

“I have known how to skate forever — my dad grew up playing hockey,” said Davidson. “But I played house league because we always went skiing. I started playing club about three years ago. I have definitely been working on it a lot more recently.” more

HART AND SOUL: Princeton Day School girls’ basketball player Mia Hartman brings the ball up the court last Thursday as PDS hosted Noor-ul-iman in its season opener. Senior guard/forward Hartman scored 11 points as the Panthers prevailed 54-13. PDS plays at Trenton Central on December 21. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Mia Hartman got her senior season with the Princeton Day School girls’ basketball team off to a great start last Thursday.

With PDS hosting Noor-ul-iman in its season opener, guard/forward Hartman scored eight points and picked up an assist in the first few minutes of the game as the Panthers jumped out to a 10-0 lead.

“That was great; definitely seeing that was a huge lift because we work very hard in practice,” said Hartman. “We practice the same things and we executed very well. It is refreshing — now we have the bodies, now we have the pieces to execute.” more

December 13, 2023

MAKING A SPLASH: Princeton High boys’ swimmer David Xu competes in a butterfly race last season. Junior Xu and the Tigers got their 2023-24 season off a good start as they topped Hamilton West 111-50 last Thursday inter opening meet. In upcoming action, PHS swims at Robbinsville on December 14 and then hosts WW/P-North on December 19. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

While the Princeton High boys’ swimming team has gone 27-2 over the last two years, that sparkling record has been tinged with some frustration.

Both of those defeats came to fellow powerhouse Chatham, with one coming in the Public B state final in 2022 and the other taking place in the sectional final last season.

As PHS headed into the 2023-24 season, Tiger head coach Carly Misiewicz believes those setbacks could spur her swimmers to new heights this winter. more

FLYING START: Princeton High girls’ swimmer Lauren Girouard displays her butterfly form in a race last season. Senior star Girouard and her teammates are looking for an encore performance this winter after going 14-0 in 2022-23 on the way to winning the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) Group B state title. PHS started this season by topping Hamilton West 114-40 last Thursday. The Tigers will look to keep on the winning track as they swim at Robbinsville on December 14 and then host WW/P-North on December 19. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

With the Princeton High girls’ swimming team coming off an undefeated season in 2022-23 that saw it win the program’s first state title since 1983, the squad isn’t shying away from talk of an encore performance this winter.

“You always feel that there is this target on your back, before it was within the county and now I feel like it is more statewide,” said PHS head coach Carly Misiewicz, whose team went 14-0 on the way to winning the Mercer County championship meet and New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) Group B state title. “I feel like we thrive in those situations. They have said multiple times that they want nothing more than to repeat this year. They got a taste of it last year but they are ready for some more again.” more

OH YES: Princeton High boys’ basketball player Jahan Owusu heads to the hoop in a game last year. Senior guard Owusu, the team’s leading scorer last season, figures to be a go-to player again this winter for the Tigers. PHS tips off its 2023-24 campaign by playing at Ewing on December 14. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Last winter, the Princeton High boys’ basketball team saved its best for last, going 5-3 in its last eight games with two of the losses coming by one point in hard-fought postseason contests.

With PHS having only lost a couple of senior starters from that squad, Patrick Noone believes that his returners have picked up from where they left off as they have gone through preseason practices.

“The vibe has been really good, they are really connected,” said PHS head coach Noone, who guided the Tigers to a 10-13 record last winter and whose team tips off the 2023-24 season by playing at Ewing High on December 14. “They are really enjoying themselves. We have got a lot of returning guys and some key newcomers so it has been good.” more

ON THE RISE: Princeton High girls’ basketball player Gabby Bannett goes up for a layup in a game last season. Senior star forward and team captain Bannett will be depended on to provide production and leadership for the Tigers this winter. PHS opens its 2023-24 season by hosting Ewing High on December 14. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Although the Princeton High girls’ basketball team hasn’t played a regular season game yet this winter, Dave Kosa is already impressed by his squad’s spirit.

“We had our best practice today, it was just having a great vibe,” said PHS head coach Kosa.

“I said to them on December 7, this has been my best team since I have been here as far as how hard we are practicing and we are getting after it. It doesn’t matter who I put on the blue team or the white team, they are going at it versus one another. It is great to see those types of practices where we are competing. Having competition just gets everyone better.” more

GETTING HIS SHOT: Princeton Day School boys’ basketball player Adam Stewart puts up a shot in a game last winter. Junior guard Stewart figures to be a key performer for the Panthers this season as he moves into the starting lineup. PDS tips off its 2023-24 campaign by hosting Delran High on December 14. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Losing six seniors to graduation, including its three leading scorers, the Princeton Day School boys’ basketball team is undergoing a youth movement by necessity this winter.

With three freshmen, five sophomores, and two juniors figuring to get a lot of minutes this season, PDS head coach Eugene Burroughs is looking forward to seeing his team develop over the course of the winter.

“With a young group, there are going to be some ups and downs, they are going to have some good days and bad days,” said Burroughs, whose team tips off its 2023-24 campaign by hosting Delran High on December 14. “They don’t know what they don’t know. We have some good pieces and some good skill level. I think the athleticism piece is there and the ability to score a little bit is there. It is going to be fun to see them mature as a group.” more

December 6, 2023

ON THE STICK: Princeton High boys’ hockey player Brendan Beatty brings the puck up the ice in action last winter. Junior forward Beatty is the leading returning scorer for PHS, having tallied 33 points on 10 goals and 23 assists last season. The Tigers open their 2023-24 campaign by facing Notre Dame High on December 11 at the Mercer County Skating Center. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

In taking the helm of the Princeton High boys’ hockey team last winter, Rik Johnson benefited from a stellar senior group that provided leadership and production.

The team’s Class of 2023, headlined by high-scoring forwards Cooper Zullo and Ethan Garlock, led the way as PHS won the Mercer County Tournament for the first time since 2020 and advanced the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) Public A quarterfinals on the way to a 15-7-1 record.

As PHS head coach Johnson looks ahead to the 2023-24 campaign, he acknowledges that his squad may have to rely on its battle-tested blue line unit to maintain the program’s winning ways. more