PRINCETON – It has been a challenging week for the Princeton Tigresses.
For the third straight game this week, the Tigresses lost to a 3A opponent after dropping a 54-43 decision to the IVC Lady Grey Ghosts in their NCIC opener on Thursday night at Prouty Gym.
The fourth quarter was the difference in the game as Princeton managed just three field goals and were outscored 22-9 in the final eight minutes. IVC took advantage of being in the bonus for the entire fourth quarter as they made nine of their first 10 free throw attempts in the first 2:45 of the period.
“We had a few silly fouls on our end of the court that we would have been better off not making,” said Princeton coach Kevin Hieronymus. “The girls are trying their hardest to get back in the game. You can’t fault them for that. They are doing what needs to be done.”
The Tigresses also had trouble handling IVC’s full court pressure in the fourth, committing 11 turnovers in the period. Trailing 39-38, the Grey Ghosts went on a 13-0 run that turned the game in their favor.
“The pressure did get to us,” said Hieronymus. “We handled it fairly well up until that point.”
Playing without two of their ball handlers didn’t help either. The Tigresses were without starting guard Lexi Marselle, who tweaked her knee on Tuesday, and Abby Jaques, who sprained her ankle in Thursday’s sophomore contest.
Senior McCaela May, who started her first varsity game in place of Marselle, made the most of her opportunity. She finished with a game high 14 points, including hitting three of six three-point attempts.
May made two key three-pointers in the second half, one to end the third quarter and another early in the fourth that put her team up 37-34.
She also was a big factor in the Tigresses’ second quarter run. Trailing 22-13, PHS held IVC scoreless in the final 6:41 of the half and outscored them 13-0 during that time.
May’s three with 49 seconds left capped the run that put her team ahead 26-22 going in the halftime break.
“McCaela May is a shooter and we are trying to let her know she is a shooter,” said Hieronymus. “Tonight she stepped up and showed it.”
Hieronymus said the second quarter run was a glimpse of the potential he sees in his team. Unselfish play was a key during the run as Princeton assisted on six of seven field goals. The only basket without an assist was an Emmalee Sears putback.
“That is what I’ve been waiting for in these girls,” said Hieronymus of the second quarter run. “I know they can do it, they just have to believe they can do it. I think we can play more like that than we have in previous games this week. They really stepped up their intensity level tonight.”
Sears scored all eight of her points in the first half. She was also a force on the glass with a game-high 17 rebounds.
In all, the Tigresses outrebounded the Lady Ghosts 40-27 in the game. However, they were at a disadvantage turning the ball over as 20 of their 32 turnovers came in the second half when their lead slipped away.
Tiger Tales: In addition to injuries to Marselle and Jaques, Maddie Currie is nursing an ankle injury she suffered on Monday. Princeton only had six upperclassmen in uniform Thursday night…The Tigresses will hit the road for the first time this year when they travel to Midland on Saturday night for their fourth game this week...Princeton fell in the sophomore contest 58-33. PHS had a balanced scoring attack with Nicole Holland and Taylor Clark leading the way with six points each. Danielle Hughes and Ann Sims added five points apiece.