PRINCETON — The Battle of Princeton kicked off the 2022-23 varsity season for the girls at the New Jersey Interscholastic Athletic Association schools on Thursday.
Princeton High made quick work of the battle, opening a 10-point lead over host Princeton Day School in the first quarter before going on to win 56-20.
Six-year girls head coach Dave Kossa’s Tigers are looking to balance their offense this season and were able to take steps in that direction by getting three players to score eight or more points.
“First of all, we’re a young team, so we still have to play together and play as a unit,” said 5-foot-9 junior guard/forward Gabby Bunnett. “We have to communicate and work together to play with any team “.
First, it worked well yesterday when Bennett scored 14 points to back up 5-8 senior swing player Rachel Luo, who led all scorers with 20 points on the day, matching the PDS total.
Princeton’s opener was paced by eight points scored by 5-8 freshman forward Anna Winters and six more points with as many steals by 5-7 junior guard Riley Devlin.
The Tigers wanted to get the NJSIAA-allowed daily jumps this season because they open the season with Notre Dame, Hightstown and Ewing in Colonial Valley Conference action.
For the second straight season, Panthers third-year head coach Seraphine Hamilton is preparing her club for a tough NJSIAA schedule atop the New Jersey Independent School Athletic Association’s Prep B list.
Princeton Day got half of its points from 5-9 junior Mia Hartman, but 5-6 freshman Makayla Randinelli got the most out of everyone else, connecting on both of her baskets in the first quarter before the visitors jumped out to a 16-6 lead.
With just under a minute left in the first half, PDS 5-4 junior guard Katie Zarish-Jasounas hit a 17-foot jumper to put the hosts up 28-14, but Luo went down and made a three-point field goal before intermission.
“Rachel is a big part of our team,” said Bonnett, who scored five points in both the second and third quarters. “When she graduates, we’ll have big shoes to fill. But I think we will survive.”
Luo had her best quarter in the third quarter as she scored nine points, including another at the buzzer, to put Princeton up 17-2.
That surge grew to 20-2 in the final stanza before Hartman hit a pair of free throws with 6:11 left.
Luo 7-3-20, Bennett 6-0-14, Devlin 2-0-6, Barr-Cohen 0-0-0, Grippa 0-1-1, Winters 3-2-8, Sharkey 1-0-2 , Niemann 0-0-0, Romain 0-1-1, Gallagher 2-0-4, Bornstein 0-0-0, Angelone 0-0-0.
Results — 21-7-56.
Gardner 0-0-0, PSmith 0-0-0, MHartman 2-6-10, Kzarish-Jasounas 1-0-2, Kohli 1-0-2, Randinelli 2-0-4, NGruthezer 1-0-2 , Richter 0-0-0, AGruthezer 0-0-0.
Total — 7-6-20.
Princeton (1-0) 16 15 17 8 — 56
PDS (0-1) 6 8 2 4 — 20
3-pointers — Luo 3, Bonnet 2, Devlin 2 (P).