It’s supposed to be how you finish the game is more important than how you start it. That theory didn’t work so well for the Princeton Tigers at LaSalle-Peru Saturday night.
The Tigers scored the final 12 points in a 12-point game that was not as close as the final score would make it seem. It was the Cavs who made the good start, scoring the game’s first 18 points on the way to 43-31 victory.
After the cold start, the Tigers did their best to get back in the game, closing within 20-12 on a three-pointer by Aaron Ray with two minutes to go in the first half. A hoop by Josh Kieffer brought the Tigers a little closer, but the Cavs scored the final six points of the half to secure a 26-12 advantage at the break.
PHS coach Jesse Brandt felt much better about the second quarter of play than the first.
“All of a sudden, second quarter it’s 20-10, and you feel like you’re kind of in the ballgame for as bad as you started. Then we let them hit a couple of threes. Third quarter we were never were really able to cut into it. Obviously, the final score was no indication how much the game was really spread apart, probably.”
Austen Stewart connected on a runner to open the third quarter and Austin Mack added a bucket to make it 29-16. L-P outscored the Tigers 11-3 the rest of the third quarter with Noah Lamboley burying consecutive three-point baskets to the chants of “you can’t stop him” from the L-P student section, sending the Cavs to a 40-19 advantage.
The Tigers continued their shooting woes, shooting 28 percent from the floor and 44 percent from the free-throw line. Brandt can’t quite put his finger on it.
“It was not like we didn’t have open looks at a times, a lot of open looks around the basket. For whatever reason, it’s not going in right now,” he said.
Zach Hicks and J.J. Vaccaro shared scoring honors with six points each for the Tigers (4-15). Lamboley led all scorers with 16 points, hitting four treys on the night, with Jens Soderholm adding 14 for the Cavs (10-5).
• Tiger tales: Saturday offered a basketball bonanza for fans of the two schools with L-P sweeping four games at three levels. The freshman A game saw L-P win 45-36 with Skye Behrends netting 12 points, Tanner Kuhne, Kai Tomaszewski and Isaac Salazar six each. The B game was much closer with L-P prevailing 24-23. Mead had nine points for PHS. At the sophomore level, L-P posted a 58-38 with Garrett Duffin tallying 23 points for the Kittens. ... PHS returns home Tuesday to host Hall.