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Princeton hopes to right ship, reach postseason

by | Nov 11, 2022 | Sports

Missing the playoffs the last two seasons, Princeton is eager to reach the heights of previous seasons in the 2022-23 season.

The Panthers finished fifth in the district last year, but head coach Eric Lockman said the team is looking for a new start, and to begin a new streak of playoff success like the 10 straight playoff appearances they had before this two-year drought.

“I’m looking forward to the season,” Lockman said. “This group has put a lot of work in since the springtime. Most of the players on the roster have been with us since March and I’m looking forward to seeing how that pays off for us this year.”

That goal has been reiterated among the team since March, as the Panthers believe they have the team capable of getting back into the postseason with a blend of returning talent and exciting young players.

“We made the playoffs for 10 straight years and now we’ve been out for two years in a row,” Lockman said. “So now we’re kind of in a let’s get back in the playoff’s mode now. I’m going to give Lovejoy the advantage with the players they have coming back but I believe we can compete for anywhere between second and fourth.”

The team was narrowly close to making the playoffs last season. In fact, it came down to the final seconds of one game that kept them out, despite exceeding their expectations.

“We didn’t make it because of a tip-in at the buzzer against The Colony,” Lockman said. “We would’ve been in if not for that, so it was painful to see. Preseason, we were picked to finish seventh and we came in fifth and I was pleased with our performance, but it stung not making it to the postseason.”

Part of the optimism is a new realignment in the state, as Wylie East and The Colony leave, and Greenville and Melissa join District 13-5A. With a different look from the newcomers, they present different challenges.

“We lost three teams that could’ve given us a tough team to beat,” Lockman said. “Wylie East and The Colony are very good teams. With Greenville and Melissa coming in though, the coaching is going to be tough to beat this season.”

Princeton returns four players from last season, including three starters in Devin Brumfield, Jevaughn Martin and Kisaka Muweyi. Jaethan Clark will also return after coming off the bench last year. Coach Lockman said he’s excited about the returning talent after multiple seasons with a lot of changeover in key spots.

“This will be the first time since I’ve been here that we are bringing back three starters this year, so that will be great,” Lockman said. “We also have quite a few sophomores and juniors who are going to get a lot of playing time and I’m looking forward to this year and the future.”

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