January 17, 2024

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

REACHING NEW HEIGHTS: Princeton University men’s basketball player Xaivian Lee heads to the hoop in recent action. Last Saturday, sophomore Lee poured in a career-high 33 points as Princeton routed visiting Harvard 89-58 in the Ivy League opener for both teams. Lee was later named the Ivy Player of the Week for the second time this season. The Tigers, now 13-1 overall and 1-0 Ivy, host Dartmouth on January 15. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

As the Princeton University men’s basketball team hosted Harvard last Saturday afternoon in the Ivy League opener for both teams, Zach Martini kept the Tigers in the game with some yeoman’s work as they got off to a shaky start.

Senior forward Martini drained a 3-pointer, hit a lay-up, and made a steal that led to a Matt Allocco bucket as Princeton trailed 11-7 in the early going.

“It was fortunate that I made a few shots to start the game because there were a little bit of jitters going into the first Ivy League game,” said Martini. “To see that first one fall really gives me the utmost confidence to start the game off and play the way I want to play on both sides of the floor. They got back to a little bit of a lead, but we got comfortable and started scoring the ball inside, which helps me score.” more

SKYE’S THE LIMIT: Princeton University women’s basketball player Skye Belker guards a foe in a game earlier this season. Last Saturday, freshman guard Belker tallied eight points along with three assists and two rebounds in her Ivy League debut as Princeton defeated Cornell 79-38 in its league opener. The Tigers, now 11-3 overall and 1-0 Ivy, play at Harvard on January 13 and at Dartmouth on January 15. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Justin Feil

Skye Belker hasn’t put down her tennis racket for good, but her athletic attention is fully on basketball now that she’s joined the  Princeton University women’s hoops squad.

Belker grew up playing both sports along with volleyball. She went 29-0 in the regular season in her final season of tennis at Windward High in Los Angeles before shifting her focus to the basketball courts for the Tiger women’s program. Last Saturday, Belker scored an efficient eight points with three assists and two rebounds in 19 minutes in her 14th straight start as Princeton routed host Cornell, 79-38, in the Ivy League opener for both teams, improving to 11-3 overall and 1-0 Ivy. more

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

SPECIAL KAI: Princeton University men’s hockey player Kai Daniells fires a shot last Saturday against Harvard. Freshman forward Daniells tallied an assist and the go-ahead goal as Princeton rallied from a 2-0 second period deficit to top Harvard 5-2. The Tigers, now 6-5-2 overall and 5-3-1 ECAC Hockey, play a two-game set at New Hampshire on January 5 and 6. (Photo provided courtesy of Princeton Athletics)

By Bill Alden

Kai Daniells is looking to establish himself as a playmaker for the Princeton University men’s hockey team while Nick Carabin is trying to set a good example for the squad’s younger players.

Freshman forward Daniells has been gaining a comfort level as he has adjusted to college hockey.

“The biggest thing is getting used to your linemates and teammates, getting comfortable and confidence,” said Daniells. “That is the biggest thing and just trust yourself to make plays. I think a lot of the growing pains are out of the way for sure. I want to build on that and keep going.” more

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

GOOD DAY: Princeton University men’s basketball player Dalen Davis dribbles upcourt in recent action. Last Friday, freshman guard Davis scored 10 points to help Princeton defeat Division III Delaware Valley 84-53. The Tigers, now 11-1, play at Delaware on December 30. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Justin Feil

Dalen Davis is a unicorn for the Princeton University men’s basketball team.

The first product from the Chicago Public League to play for an Ivy League program, Davis has made an early impact as a trailblazer. Davis played a team-high 31 minutes and scored 10 points as Princeton improved to 11-1 with an 84-53 win over Division III Delaware Valley on Friday, his latest step in adjusting to school and college basketball.

“I’m just learning from older guys, from the starters,” said Davis. “They’ve been there – Sweet 16 run last year – so it’s been a blessing to learn from them and all the upperclassmen, even the sophomores too. Time management is probably the best thing. It’s Princeton, just managing both at the same time. And also health. I’ve been sick a lot and dealing with a lot of health issues. So time management all around.” 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

SHOOTING STAR: Princeton University women’s basketball player Madison St. Rose puts up a shot in a game last season. Last Wednesday, sophomore guard St. Rose tallied 17 points as Princeton defeated Rutgers 66-55. The Tigers, now 8-3, are next in action when they play at Vermont on December 29. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

After struggling early on last winter to get up to speed in her freshman season with the Princeton University women’s basketball team, Madison St. Rose has developed a self-assurance based on that experience and some grinding in the offseason.

“I am more confident and comfortable with the whole Princeton system and just how everything works,” said sophomore guard St. Rose. “I feel like last year, I was adjusting. I had a really hard time adjusting just because of the fast pace and constantly lifting. It took a toll on my body. I felt like my working over the summer and just trying to get myself ahead definitely made me a better player.”

Last Wednesday against visiting Rutgers, St. Rose didn’t waste any time displaying the dividends of that work, pouring in 10 points to help the Tigers jump out to an 18-5 lead over the Scarlet Knights. more

ACTION JACKSON: Princeton University men’s basketball player Jackson Hicke dribbles upcourt last Wednesday as Princeton hosted Division III foe Bryn Athyn. Freshman guard Hicke posted his first career double-double with 12 points and 15 rebounds to help the Tigers roll to a 92-40 win over the Lions. Princeton, now 10-1, hosts Delaware Valley on December 22. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Jackson Hicke scored six points with four rebounds in 59 minutes off the bench over his first nine appearances this season in his freshman campaign for the Princeton University men’s basketball team.

Last Wednesday as Princeton hosted Division III foe Bryn Athyn, guard Hicke got some extended playing time and made the most of the opportunity, tallying 12 points with 15 rebounds and five assists in 33 minutes as Princeton rolled to a 92-40 win over the Lions.

“It was great, I had a couple of long stretches for sure,” said Hicke, a 6’5, 200-pound native of Radnor, Pa., who made 3 of 4 shots, including 2 of 2 from 3-point range and 4 of 4 from the foul line. “The starters came out and played so well and gave us the opportunity to play some minutes.” more

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

STICKY SITUATION: Princeton Day School girls’ hockey player Logan Harrison controls the puck in recent action despite getting a stick to her neck. Senior forward Harrison’s play at both ends of the ice has helped PDS get off to a 3-2 start. The Panthers, who fell 8-0 to the Portledge School (N.Y.) last Saturday, face Randolph High on December 20 at the SportsCare Arena in Randolph in their last action before the holiday break. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Although the Princeton Day School girls’ hockey team took its lumps last weekend as it fell to the Shady Side Academy (Pa.) and the Portledge School (N.Y.), Jamie Davis believes his players will be better for the experience.

“I am glad we played these games because you need some adversity, you need to get beat at times and fight back,” said PDS first-year head coach Davis, whose team lost 5-0 to Shady Side on Friday and then got defeated 8-0 by Portledge a day later.

“I just told them that if you play this hard like we did last night against the teams in our league, we are going to be tough to beat. We actually played up to them; Friday night was a much stronger effort. We had scoring chances, we just couldn’t put them in. We did all right today, it was a tough one.” more

December 13, 2023

TOP OF THE HILL: Princeton University women’s basketball player Parker Hill looks to unload the ball in recent action. Last Wednesday, junior forward Hill scored a career-high 14 points to help Princeton defeat Quinnipiac 79-70. The Tigers, who edged Villanova 61-58 last Monday to improve to 7-3, host Rutgers on December 13. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Over her first two seasons with the Princeton University women’s basketball team, Parker Hill toiled in a reserve role, appearing in 39 games with no starts and just 210 minutes of action.

After riding the bench for the first seven games this winter, junior forward Hill broke into the starting lineup on December 3 against Rhode Island in a 60-58 loss. Last Wednesday night as Princeton hosted Quinnipiac, Hill got her second start and first at Jadwin Gym.

While excited to finally be a starter, Hill is not changing her approach to the game. more