PRINCETON: Byrne, Lions benefit from summer hoops


By Bob Nuse, Sports Editor
The names change from year to year, but the mission remains the same for the Majeski Foundation entry in the Princeton Men’s Summer Basketball League.
Majeski, which won the league championship a year ago, is made up of current players from The College of New Jersey. The Lions use the summer on the courts in Princeton to come together as a team as they prepare for the regular season.
“We definitely build a little chemistry out here,” said Liam Byrne, who scored 12 points in a 58-53 win over LoyalTees on Monday night. “It gets us doing different stuff with each other before the season. This allows me to work on stuff I usually don’t do in a game and get better at that.”
Majeski, which improved to 3-0 with a 53-50 win over PEAC on Wednesday, lost a number of key players from the team that won the league title last year. That means an expanded role this year for a player like Byrne.
“I do shoot the ball more,” said Byrne, a Middletown resident who attended Red Bank Catholic High School. “We get the ball to (Eric) Murdock and he kicks it out. That’s what works for us. Everybody plays off each other and I stick to what I can do, which is shoot the ball.
“As we get older everybody is talking to each other and telling each other what to do. Being here and doing this, we’ve created a winning culture and learned how to win together. That helps us in the regular season. We love playing out here.”
Murdock scored 19 in Monday’s win and then added a game-high 16 in the win over PEAC on Wednesday. He joins Jordan Glover and Byrne as three of the key returnees to the summer courts for Majeski.
“We have been consistent,” Byrne said. “Hopefully we can keep it going. The competition has been really good out here this year, which is what we want. We want to compete against the best guys we can and that will help us in the regular season.”
Byrne will be looking to expand his role at TCNJ as he heads into his junior year. He averaged 12 minutes a game in 15 games last year, but with the loss of four key seniors from a year ago he may be called on for a bigger role this year.
“When I came in, Matt Goldsmith came in as a head coach,” Byrne said. “I was actually recruited by Kelly Williams, but when Coach Goldsmith came in he wanted me to come here and I think it was an easy transition. I think I made the best decision and it has really worked out.”
In other games on Wednesday, LoyalTees topped NJAC, 73-61, as Skye Ettin scored a game-high 18 points. Darrin Elam-Council had 16 points and Davon Black added 11 in the win. Justin Lewendowski had 17 points, while Kareem Elhossieni had 11 and John McArthur added 10 in the loss. Princeton Special Sports/Liquid Outdoor Advertising topped the Packer Hall All-Stars, 71-56, as Nick Davidson scored 26 points, Ned Ogoemesim had 16 and Zahrion Blue added 13 in the win. Zavon Johnson had 21 points and Corey Stanford added 13 in the loss.
On Monday night, PEAC topped the Packer Hall All-Stars, 51-38, as David Azoroh (14 points), Lou Conde (13), Elijah Davis (12), and Danny Leary (10) all scored in double figures. Johnson had 14 points in the loss. Princeton Special Sports/Liquid Outdoor Advertising topped NJAC, 53-52, as Davidson led the way with 21 points. Junior Alexis had 18 points in the loss.