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Men's club basketball team wins Hamilton Township League title

There was no "Sea of Orange." The court did not shake. George Will GS '68 probably never referred to the Princeton club basketball team as "a leading indicator of cultural growth."

None of that matters to the players, however. The only thing that matters to them is that they are the champions of the Hamilton Township League.

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The club team is comprised of 15 players, eight to 10 of whom play regularly. Although the program is run entirely by students, it is far from disorganized. This year, Princeton competed in the Hamilton Township League for the first time and, despite being considered underdogs for most of the season, came away with the conference championship.

Relative newbies

The Hamilton League is a recreational conference comprised of several teams from the Princeton region. Although the club basketball team was not lacking in talent, it was thin on experience. Most of the league's other teams are comprised of men in their twenties, many of whom work in the Princeton area. After beginning the year with several lopsided victories in the conference's lower division, Princeton asked to be moved into the upper echelon.

Nevertheless, Princeton prevailed. Led by senior forward E.K. Maccoll, junior forward Dan Hsiung, junior forward Will Holt and senior guard Jim Carlisle, Princeton was able to reach the title game, where the team surprised the entire league by capturing the championship.

The successful season was made even sweeter by the fact that the team did not play a single league game on campus. Forced to deal with unfamiliar surroundings and often hostile crowds, Princeton never flinched.

Stacked slate

Although Princeton's league championship is a source of immense pride among the players, it alone does not indicate the true competitiveness of the team. In addition to its challenging league schedule, Princeton also faced several strong non-conference opponents.

Particularly impressive was Princeton's performance against Moravian's junior varsity team. Despite practicing just twice a week – less often than the opposition, Princeton was able to build a double-digit lead early in the game. Although Moravian eventually rallied to win, Princeton's performance was a clear indication of the team's potential.

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For a team that operates in such an informal manner – the Tigers were missing several players in the championship game due to spring break – Princeton achieved remarkable success this year.

Tigers vs. Tigers

Not only did the players reach their ultimate goal of the league championship, they were also afforded the opportunity to enjoy competing at an increased level of competition, even playing Princeton's own junior varsity team.

"It's an opportunity to play with the better players (on campus)," Carlisle said of the club program.

Hsiung echoed Carlisle's sentiments, noting the increased interest around campus as well as the stronger schedule as critical to making the experience a rewarding one.

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"We actually had more players then we thought we would have," Hsiung said. "The competition was a lot better and so it was a lot more fun."

If this season's performance is any indication, maybe the men's varsity team won't be the only basketball dynasty on campus.

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