Catfight goes to Princeton
Princeton (71) Vs. Shady Spring (61)
Feb 24, 2016
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
PRINCETON — It's been a cold winter for the Princeton boys basketball team. Now that sectionals are a week away, the Tigers are finally warming up.
Jacob Whittington scored 20 points to lead Princeton to a 71-61 win over Shady Spring at Coach Ralph Ball court on Wednesday afternoon.
The victory marked the Tigers' third straight win since coming out of a five-game skid against Westside and ensured that Princeton (9-8) can't finish worse than .500 when the Tigers wrap up regular season play at Bluefield on Friday.
"We've just been working in practice, especially on defense. We'd been slacking on defense with the presses and we've been trying to get back into a rhythm," said Princeton's Logan Watkins, who scored all 13 of his points in the first half. "I was just shooting and trying to help my team out the best way I could."
Princeton's 51-39 season opening victory at Shady Spring was for the most part a mutually competitive basketball game. Wednesday's rematch, which tipped off at 4 p.m. to make room for the Tigerettes' following sectional contest with Woodrow Wilson, was Princeton’s to lose after the home team's opening 9-0 run.
"They got a lot better since they played us at the beginning of the season," said Shady Spring head coach Ronnie Olsen, whose team wraps up regular season play versus PikeView on Friday. "They added (Bryson Murphy) and they're physical, they hit the boards and they get out in transition."
Colton Fix scored 13 points for Princeton, which is gearing up for a sectionals showdown at Greenbrier East at 7 p.m. on Wednesday.
"We moved some guys around at different positions. 'We've got the Fix kid playing the post some and that's giving him a better chance to get some baskets. But what's most impressive now is that we're stretching the floor on our opponents some,” Princeton head coach Ernie Gilliard said. “Our twos and threes are doing their jobs hustling up the floor ... and that's helping us get some transition baskets.”
The biggest plus for Princeton has been the break in all the foul winter weather that had been costing the Tigers so much playing time. There's only so much progress you can make in practice when you haven't been playing.
"I think it's just a matter of us being able to get some game rhythm. It seems we're getting better at understanding our assignments. Our energy level is good. We count all of those as positives," said Gilliard who said optimism in the locker room is a big plus headed into a big rival game like Bluefield.
"When you go into a game such as Bluefield-Princeton, it's important to have some positive experiences before you get there. It's just a matter of us paying attention to detail and just executing and being patient."
Kevin Sexton scored 15 points to pace Shady Spring (9-11). Logan Cook scored 12 for the Tigers, who travel to Oak Hill for a sectional play-in game on Monday. The winner of that game will travel to face top-seeded Woodrow Wilson on Wednesday.

At Ralph Ball Court
Kevin Sexton 5 2-7 15, Michael Gilliam 2 4-5 8, Cole Honaker 2 2-5 7, Dante Billetter 2 1-2 5, Michael Holt 2 5-6 9, Logan Cook 3 6-8 12, Peyton Michaels 2 0-0 5. Totals 18 20-33 61.
Garrison Hartwell 2 0-0 4, Colton Fix 6 1-1 13, Jacob Whittington 8 2-2 20, Aaron McCabe 0 0-0 0, Jared Hamm 0 1-3 1, Cole Cochran 4 0-0 8, Bryson Murphy 2 5-5 9, Logan Watkins 6 0-0 14, Tanner Veneri 0 0-0 0, Cade Fix 0 0-0 0, Drew Hopkins 3 0-0 6, Brad Van Thyne 0 0-0 0, Payton Hudgins 0 0-0 0, L.J. Reed 1 0-0 2. Totals 32 11-19 71.
Shady Spring.............15 9 14 23 — 61
Princeton....................27 21 10 19 — 71
3-point goals: Shady Spring 5 (Sexton 3, Honaker), Princeton 4 (Watkins 2, Whittington 2).
Nightly Roundup
Game Scoreboard
Princeton 21 21 10 19 0 71
Shady Spring 15 9 14 23 0 61
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