PRINCETON: Little Tiger girls earn first win

Jacobs, PHS hoops run away from Robbinsville

By Justin Feil, Assistant Sports Editor
   Liz Jacobs is confident that if the Princeton High School girls basketball team can figure out its second half effort, it is going to be a pretty good team.
   The junior forward scored a season-high 14 points and the Little Tigers outscored Robbinsville by 14 points in the second half for a 59-39 win Saturday.
   ”We were definitely on a high from that game,” Jacobs said. “I think everyone was really pumped up. We really wanted to feel a win again.”
   PHS looked in good shape again Tuesday with a 27-19 lead over Hamilton at the half but was outscored by 24 points in the second half of a 54-38 loss despite Jacobs posting another new high with 16 points.
   ”We were up the whole game and in the fourth quarter, we lost it really badly,” Jacobs said. “We were on a roll.”
   The difference in the two games reflects the Little Tigers’ season. PHS has proven they can compete with anyone over the last four games. They lost in overtime to Hightstown, they trailed Trenton by just four points at halftime, beat Robbinsville and were in position to beat Hamilton.
   ”We have Steinert on Friday,” Jacobs said. “They always have a really strong team. I think we’re going to work really hard in practice the next few days and try to fix our dropping off in the second half and come out as strong as we can.
   ”In our division, obviously we have the potential to do some decent damage. I think it’d be really nice if we could upset some other teams. We definitely have the chance.”
   Jacobs was one of three players in double figures scoring against Robbinsville. Julia Ryan also had 14 points and Jochebed Muflam added 10 points. Mary Sutton had nine points, Madison Luther pitched in with seven points and Maddie Cahill-Sanidas had five points. Princeton his four 3-pointers, all from different players.
   ”Actually, I think our shots were all on,” Jacobs said. “We had a really good warm-up. We were focusing on having a good third and fourth quarter. That’s sometimes when we’re off and when we lose it. For the Robbinsville game, we really wanted to have a strong third quarter. It was a nice change being on top.”
   Against Hamilton, Jacobs had 16 points and Luther and Sutton had seven points apiece. Muflam and Cahill-Sanidas had four points apiece.
   ”I think that we’re still a young team, but we have some really good talent,” Jacobs said. “We have a new freshman point guard, Julia (Ryan), and she’s great. She’s really important because she can shoot so well. That really helps us. We have some great seniors — Jochebed, Maddie (Cahill-Sanidas) and Maddie (Luther), and sophomores Mary Sutton and Mira Shane. I think we’re still pretty young. The seniors have been really instrumental this year. Everyone has stepped up this year.”
   Jacobs has been steadily improving on the court, even while pursuing her top sport, lacrosse.
   ”(PHS head coach Steffanie) Shoop expected a lot of me last year and this year too,” Jacobs said. “I think I’ve gotten better. I think I’m helping the team more than I did last year just because I’ve improved myself. I’m trying to help everyone out and just get better so we can be the best we can be.”
   Jacobs recently verbally committed to continue playing lacrosse at Dartmouth in two years, but she’s putting her energy into basketball this winter.
   ”Going into the season, I really wanted to work on my posting up and getting the easy shots down low and rebounding,” Jacobs said. “I think I’ve gotten a lot stronger with my moves down low. I’m always trying to work on rebounding and boxing out, and simple stuff like that.”
   The Little Tigers came into the year with higher expectations for this season. The win over Robbinsville showed them the sort of team they could be, and there have been sparks in the first half of recent games and PHS is trying to figure out how to replicate it in the second half of games.
   ”For me, it’s really important to have a strong warm-up,” Jacobs said. “I think it makes a difference for our team too. When everyone is excited about the game and pumped up, it completely raises our game. The Robbinsville game, everyone was excited and wanted to play and be there. (Tuesday) was the same sort of feeling, but a different result.
   ”We had a rough second half, and that’s something we wanted to change in the Robbinsville game. That’s something we need to keep working through, having a strong third quarter. We really could have won (Tuesday). I think it’s a mental thing at this point. We can clearly play. It’s just sustaining it.”