The Princeton boys and girls basketball teams both found themselves facing uphill battles in their Carolina 1A Conference contests against rival Rosewood Tuesday night and neither Eagles team was willing to cool off to allow the Bulldogs to even think of coming back.
In the boys game, Rosewood hit six of its first seven three-pointers to open up a big lead and stayed hot down the stretch to secure a 71-45 win that moved them to 5-10 overall and 4-3 in the conference.
By the end of the first quarter, the Eagles held a 10-point lead and used hot-shooting performances from Zack Barnes, Ethan Chapin and Noah Grantham to gradually build upon the lead throughout the remainder of the night.
In the girls game, the Eagles also blitzed Princeton in the opening quarter of play to take a 17-point lead and never looked back in a convincing 71-35 victory.
Rosewood enjoyed the benefit of having six players with at least eight points apiece, more than the highest scorer for Princeton.
Boys: Rosewood 71, Princeton 45
The Princeton boys basketball team has had a tough time racking up the points thus far this season and, unfortunately for the Bulldogs, that trend continued Tuesday night.
At times, it appeared the Eagles couldn’t miss regardless of where they were on the court and, at times, it appeared that Princeton couldn’t buy a basket as the Rosewood boys easily took the nightcap by 26 points.
The Eagles were good for 9-of-13-shooting from three-point territory and committed just three turnovers for the entire game as Princeton, especially as it tried to make a push in the second half, couldn’t get the stops it needed.
Zack Barnes poured in 20 points (4-of-6 from three-point range); Noah Grantham chipped in with 17 while Ethan Chapin also ended the game in double figures, with 12 points.
“We couldn’t stop them in any defense we were in,” Princeton coach Jeff Davis said. “We ran the trap and we’re not great at it, but it made them shoot quick but they made them all.”
After scoring just six points in the first quarter, the Bulldogs started to find a little rhythm offensively behind Demarcus Ellis and his team-high 16 points and Austin Sullivan’s 10-point, six rebound performance.
However, Princeton (1-16, 1-6) went through long stretches of time when the Bulldogs missed several point range shots in quick succession allowing Rosewood to continue expanding its lead.
“You can’t win if you don’t score and that’s been our trouble all year,” said Davis. “We’ve struggled to score all year.”
Girls: Rosewood 71, Princeton 35
The Eagles set the tone from the outset using a full court press to prevent Princeton from getting too comfortable at running its offense. Meanwhile, Rosewood (12-3, 7-0) had no difficulty finding its comfort zone, opening the game on a 21-2 run with six different players scoring in the opening frame alone.
Lexi Mercer made her presence felt in many ways as the senior standout, who eclipsed the 2,000-point career milestone earlier this season, led the Eagles with 17 points while also contributing eight rebounds, six assists and five steals.
Jala Holloman added 16 points and Alyssa Garrison posted 11.
Princeton found its groove in the second and third quarters as it was better able to deal with the Eagles’ pressure but it was too little, too late against a Rosewood side who has now won 34 of its last 35 games in the Carolina 1A Conference.
Maddie Adkins and Jordan Benson each came off the bench and poured in six points to lead the Bulldogs (5-10, 1-6).
“It’s obvious we played a very good team that is well coached and balanced,” Princeton coach Marty Gurganus said. “We didn’t match their intensity level to start with. They’re the most intense team we’ve played all year and that’s the way I want my girls to play.”