PRINCETON: Banner day for Panther scorer

Holzhammer nets 1,000th career point

By Justin Feil, Assistant Sports Editor
   Kenny Holzhammer knew from the start of the season that he was nearing the 1,000-point milestone.
   Going into Tuesday’s Hillsborough Holiday Tournament opener against the host Raiders, the Princeton Day School senior needed just eight points for the career mark. It didn’t take him long to get them as he scored the Panthers’ first eight points of the game.
   ”It was funny,” Holzhammer said. “I told my mom, I don’t want this to go on any longer. I want to take care of it. After the first couple shots, it was done. I was happy.”
   Holzhammer, who has been among the area’s top three-point marksmen, didn’t get the milestone bucket from beyond the arc, but rather on a left-handed floater.
   ”It’s the one I get yelled at for taking all the time,” Holzhammer said. “It’s something I’ve been working on for a while. It’s gotten better as I learned more about varsity basketball and gotten to know the game better and what you have to do.”
   Holzhammer finished with 14 points in the Panthers’ 71-35 loss to Hillsborough. The loss was the only damper on what was otherwise a big moment for the longtime Panther.
   ”We knew Kenny was close,” said PDS head coach Paris McLean. “Ever since he’s been a freshman, he’s been a pretty prolific scorer. We’re happy for Kenny. Any time you score 1,000, even if it’s in a loss, it’s your body of work.
   ”After this year, I think he’ll go down as one of the top scorers in Princeton Day history. I look forward him to finishing off this year strong and going off to college.”
   Holzhammer began his career strong for the Panthers. He was on the varsity since his freshman year and has grown into a well-rounded player.
   ”My first two years, I would just catch and shoot 3s,” said Holzhammer, a Ewing resident. “I needed to learn to get to the hole and get to the free-throw line. I’ve gotten better at getting to the line and scoring with that floater. I still need to improve.”
   He is working on his game as he chooses between Lycoming (Pa.) College or Hartwick (N.Y.) College for where he will play next year.
   ”He’s more than just a three-point shooter,” McLean said. “He has in his arsenal a nice lefty runner and his mid-level game is coming on. It’s come from people knowing him. They’ve pushed up to take away his 3 and he’s finding those other options. He’ll keep getting better. He’ll keep working on his game and add another tool to the toolbox.”
   For at least one night, Holzhammer was happy that his tools had helped him reach a goal he set long ago.
   ”My seventh-grade year I saw Drew Godwin do it,” he said. “Then, when you’re in the gym you see the 1,000-point banners. It’s constant motivation to get on that list.
   ”I wanted it in three years, but it didn’t work out. I saw myself definitely doing it in four years. Being on the varsity for four years, I thought I could do it. I knew I had to work hard. I owe a lot to Coach Paris and my other coaches. I wouldn’t be there without them.”
   This season, with the graduation of another 1,000-point scorer, Joe Rogers, Holzhammer has had been the top scorer steadily for the Panthers, and defenses are keying on him. He is working to help others gain the confidence he has.
   ”Now we have some more balance,” McLean said. “Devon (Reed) and A.J. (Rubin) are scoring around 8-10. Kenny has confidence in them. He encourages them. If they take some shots and make them, that will take some pressure off him and make our team tougher to defend.”
   Holzhammer would like to see the Panthers produce some better results. They are 1-5 with Tuesday’s loss.
   ”Right now, we’re off to a rough start,” McLean said. “He would trade those 1,000 points in for some wins. But it’s huge for an individual accomplishment and huge for PDS basketball.”
   Said Holzhammer: “I just wanted to get it out of the way. I was glad to get it in the first quarter so I could concentrate on getting us wins and to the next level.”
   Kenny Holzhammer admits he was a little nervous before Tuesday’s game against Hillsborough. But after hitting the milestone, he can relax and just play with the knowledge that his name belongs on PDS’ 1,000-point banner among the school’s scoring greats.