Tradition hasn’t graduated for the Princeton girls basketball team this season.
The Tigresses, who graduated five senior starters from last year’s record-setting team, kept up their winning tradition in the Princeton Holiday Tournament, defeating Erie-Prophetstown, 43-30, Saturday night at Prouty Gymnasium, to repeat as tournament champions.
“I think this means every thing. Although we won it last year, things are different this year. It’s just showing we can get into a rhythm and keep pushing and fight for what we want,” PHS senior Miyah Fox said.
“It means a lot, because we lost five seniors last year. So it’s really awesome to be able to be on top of everything with all the girls we still have,” sophomore point guard Camryn Driscoll said.
PHS has now gone undefeated in each of the last three holiday tournaments, winning 12 straight, but lost out on the championship in 2021 by the free throw percentage tie-breaker to Putnam County, which also went 4-0 in the then modified round-robin format.
“This is a new team. Yeah, there’s a lot of familiar faces, but there’s some new roles for these kids with the graduation of that last class,” PHS coach Tiffany Gonigam said. “To come out and put together a good string of four games here, I thought was outstanding. They really worked hard and just showed their desire to win and how hard they’re going to play.”
The Tigresses’ game came in spurts Saturday.
They scored the first seven points of the game, five for sophomore Keighley Davis and two by Driscoll, on the way to a 11-8 lead at quarter’s end.
Princeton used a 10-1 run in the second quarter to open up a 22-12 halftime lead, even with Davis and Fox sitting out in foul trouble. Mattingly hit a 3-pointer and Driscoll converted a 3-point play from the charity stripe.
“What I really liked in the second quarter, we had some girls get in foul trouble and to be able to go to the bench and have that spurt, I was extremely happy that everyone came ready to play and ready to contribute,” Gonigam said.
A 10-2 run to start the third quarter put the game out of reach. Fox had four points, Driscoll three and junior Paige Jesse sank a 3-pointer to send the Tigresses to a 32-15 lead.
“Our third quarter has been really well so far in the tournament. We just come back from halftime and we’re ready to go,” Fox said.
Driscoll said the Tigresses’ defense really helped get their offense going and score in transition.
Fox said the Tigresses had just the right temperament handling the ball.
“We were able to slow down the ball at times when we needed to slow it down and push it when we needed to,” she said.
Driscoll finished with 10 points with Davis adding nine, Mattingly seven and Jesse and Fox with six each. Driscoll also led PHS with six rebounds.
“Camryn, wow. She pulled down six rebounds. At her height and what she was asked to do tonight, which is handle the ball against some pretty outstanding pressure there by Erie-Prophetstown,” Gonigam said. “She played a great game all around and was able to contribute knocking down some key shots for us as well.”
Gonigam said they couldn’t have asked for a better start to the season.
“It’s a great start to the year. We played two tough teams in Putnam County and Erie-Prophetstown in the Gold Division. That really gave us a good test,” she said.
Kennedy Buck led E-P with eight points, Sydney Schwartz had seven and Olivia Purvis added six.
Storm take fourth
Also Saturday, Bureau Valley beat Stark County, 50-26, to claim fourth place.
The Storm rallied late in the first half to force a 16-16 halftime tie. The Storm used their defensive pressure to turn turnovers into multiple fastbreaks and open up a 35-20 lead at the end of the third quarter.
BV had balanced scoring with Kate Stoller and Taylor Neuhalfen with 11 apiece, and Kate Salisbury and Libby Endress with nine each.
Henry beat Streator, 36-22, for seventh place, finishing the tournament at 2-2.
Midland beat Bureau Valley, 47-21, to capture the F/S championship game.
Princeton’s Davis, Fox and Mattingly were named to the all-tournament team. They were joined by Bureau Valley’s Neuhalfen and Salisbury, E-P’s Buck and Schwartz, PC’s Maggie Richetta and Ava Hatten and Midland’s Sophie Milloy.