Cranbury trio key to PHS

By: Rich Fisher
   The fate of the Princeton High girls basketball team could have a lot to do with how its Cranbury contributors do this year.
   Of the Little Tigers five starters, two are from the township — junior forward Stephanie Grubb and senior point guard Amanda Santamaria. A third Cranbury player is forward Rebecca Shaffer, who is expected to provide some muscle off the bench.
   Probably the most key role belongs to Santamaria, who has been a shooting guard all her career. But with Zoe Sarnak graduating, coach Nikki Inzano needed someone new to run the show.
   "We didn’t have a point guard coming back, and she just picked up the pace," Inzano said. "She controls the game, she’s got to be our safety going back (on defense). She’s learning that. It’s a new position, but I think she’s picking up so well on it."
   Santamaria admits it’s a challenge, but one she is ready to accept.
   "It’s been new, but I have to step it up," she said. "I love it now, I’ve adapted to it and I hope to improve every single game. We had a summer league team so I started playing then.
   "You have to always be looking for the open player, and still look for your own take."
   Santamaria says the one thing she regrets is not working more on her ball handling.
   "I should have done more on that, but I’m working on it more outside of practice now," she said. "I played field hockey, so I couldn’t work on it then."
   Grubb, who has been playing with Santamaria since the sixth grade, feels she is picking things up nicely.
   "I think she’s doing really well," Grubb said. "She still has to learn . . . but who doesn’t? By the end of the season, I think she’ll be a very good player. As long as she doesn’t panic, she’ll be a good point guard."
   As for herself, Grubb is trying to become a more complete forward. She has done a nice job hitting the boards and playing defense, but wants to score more.
   "I’m not the best offensive player, but I am trying to score," Grubb said. "But I also know that defense wins championships, it’s as simple as that. I work on my defense and I feel it should be consistent every night. If I work hard, I’m sure I’ll be able to score points by the end of the season."
   Inzano has no complaints about her second-year starter.
   "Steph is just playing incredible," the coach said. "She’s going strong, she’s rebounding, which we need her to do. She’s got the body to rebound. I’d just like to see her put a few more back and score a little more."
   Although she does not start, Shaffer has a little Grubb in her when it comes to throwing the body around.
   "Personally, I’m out there for defense," Shaffer said. "Offensively, get the ball and go as hard as I can, throw passes and get the ball up court. That’s always been my role. I’m the tallest player on the team. I just post up, take an offensive charge, do whatever I have to."
   Shaffer’s playing time depends on the opposition.
   "When we face a zone team, I can get her in there," Inzano said. "When they’re playing man to man, it’s a little different. But I do want to get her in there as much as I can."