By Bob Nuse, Sports Editor
The West Windsor-Plainsboro High North boys basketball team has been in search of consistency all season long.
The Knights have shown flashes of how good they can be, but are looking to maintain that level of play over an extended period.
The Knights took a step in that direction on Wednesday with an impressive 51-31 win over WW-P South. The win gave them back to back victories for the first time this season as they improved to 5-9 overall.
“We just played as a team and we were getting open looks,” said junior Saubhagya Balyan, who finished with a game-high 21 points. “We ran our stuff and when we had the open guy we took the shots and executed. This two game win streak with one on the road is really going to help us and motivate us to keep going. We have Princeton (tonight) and that will be a good game.”
The Knights have now posted wins over Nottingham and WW-P South and will look to make it three straight tonight at Princeton. Balyan played a huge role in the win over the Pirates, scoring 13 of his points in the second quarter as the Knights extended a one-point lead to 13 by halftime.
“We are coming together,” said Balyan, a junior who missed most of last season with a back injury. “We have mostly juniors and seniors so we are learning to play together. As long as we are executing our plays we’re getting it done. I didn’t play most of last season. Only played part of the season and didn’t get into the mix too much last year.
“We are looking ahead and even though we’re going to lose our seniors I think we can be a strong team next year. Our JV is going on a good streak and playing well together. If they move up and play with the guys on the existing varsity team I think we can do well.”
Miles Gordon and Tristan Dunn scored 10 points apiece for the Knights, while Jonathan Kline led the Pirates with 12 points and Suraj Sathyaprakash added 10. For North, having a healthy Balyan back in the lineup this year has been a huge lift.
“He got maybe five games under his belt at the end of last year,” North coach Tim Stevens said. ”It’s nice to have him back and feeling confident again. I feel like early in the year Saubhagya was trying to make up for lost time. He’s now playing confident and trying to simplify his game. He’s not rushing. We see that when he simplifies his game what he can do. It’s there and we know he is talented. He can shoot a little bit outside and he can get to the basket and use his size. When he tries to do both is when he does his best.”
With two straight wins, the Knights are now playing with more confidence.
“For us this is two in a row,” Stevens said. “We need to start putting them together. We’ve had a few wins this year but we have struggled to get that back to back. And this is our first one on the road. Little milestones like that are what we put out there on the table and then we try to achieve it.”
The Knights have a deep senior class but the players who will be back next year give the program a bright hope for the future.
“Saubhagya and Tristan are both back,” Stevens said. “We do have six seniors and they are laying the groundwork for the program. Our sub varsity teams are doing well and working hard. So everyone is working hard and laying the groundwork not just for this season but for the future of the program.”
PLAINSBORO: Balyan. Knights win second straight
By Bob Nuse, Sports Editor