PRINCETON — The Princeton boys’ basketball team is going to have a tough first half of the season with 19 of the first 21 games on the road. While they will open at home Monday in the Sauk Valley tournament, they won’t return home until Dec. 11 after eight road games.
Coach Jesse Brandt is going to be looking for big things from returning starting senior guards Zach Stroud and Josh Kieffer, and forwards Cole Evenson and last year’s sixth man, Austin Mack. Also returning from last year’s team is senior guard Austen Stewart.
“All of those guys should have good years because they played solid minutes last year and know what it’s like,” Brandt said.
Senior guard Aaron Ray has also sparked some interest from Brandt.
“I would love to see Aaron Ray develop into a nice player for us,” he said.
New additions to the Tiger roster are senior guard Garrett Kostello, who didn’t play his junior year, junior guard J.J. Vaccarro, and junior forwards Zach Andersen, Zack Hicks, Nate Duffy and Chris Layton.
With four key players from last year lost to graduation, the Tigers won’t be able to lean on one person to score.
“We will have a hard time replacing the kids from last year,” Brandt said, “but I hope to have a balanced scoring attack and play good defense to create easy offense.”
With many new faces and so many road games, Brandt isn’t looking for the best basketball right out of the gate.
“I hope we improve on a daily basis,” he said. “I hope to compete in each and every game and compete for a regional championship.”
The Tigers open up their season Monday in the Sauk Valley Tournament at home vs. Morrison at Prouty Gymnasium. They turn to the road for the remainder of the tournament, traveling to Rock Falls on Nov. 20, to Sterling Nov. 21 to face the Golden Warriors and back to Sterling to face Newman on Nov. 23 and Dixon on Nov. 24. They won’t return home until Dec. 11 vs. Seneca.
Princeton Tigers 2012-13 varsity schedule
Nov. 19 H Morrison 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 20 A Rock Falls 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 21 A Sterling 8 p.m.
Nov. 23 A Sterling Newman 5 p.m.
Nov. 24 A Dixon 5 p.m.
Nov. 30 A Mendota 7:30 p.m.
Dec. 1 A Eastland shootout TBA
Dec. 4 A Rochelle 7:30 p.m.
Dec. 7 A Byron 7 p.m.
Dec. 11 H Seneca 7:30 p.m.
Dec. 14 A Rockridge 7:30 p.m.
Dec.18 A Ottawa 7:30 p.m.
Dec. 22-29 Plano Classic TBA
Jan. 4 A St. Bede 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 8 A Orion 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 12 A LaSalle-Peru 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 15 H Hall 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 18 H IVC 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 22 H Sherrard 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 29 A Rock Falls 7:15 p.m.
Feb. 2 H Kewanee 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 5 H Bureau Valley 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 8 A IVC 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 15 H St. Bede 7:30 p.m.