By BOB REDD
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
The Princeton Tigers are having one of their better seasons in recent years, currently sporting an 11-4 record with a 7-4 mark in the Mountain State Athletic Conference and a win over the No. 1 team in Class AA, its Mercer County rival, the Bluefield Beavers.
Part of the reason for the success of this year’s Tigers’ team is team play and the fact that many of Princeton’s players are able to score, rebound and pass when needed.
Hunter Walters, a senior at Princeton is one of those who steps up when needed and for his play last week, he is the Pocahontas Coal Association/Bluefield Daily Telegraph Player of the Week.
Walters had 17 points and 10 rebounds in the Tigers’ MSAC win over Riverside, following up on several standout performances this season.
“I feel like I performed pretty decent, but I feel like I can do a lot better as far as rebounding and pushing the ball ahead and getting easy buckets for the team,” Walters said.
Talking about the game against Riverside he continued, “We never really lost hope and we knew we were a better team, so we just kept going out there trying to get easy baskets instead of shooting so many threes. We tried to work it inside and then if we got the kick-out, we could spot up and shoot.”
Walters said he and his teammates work well together and hopefully they can reach their goals.
“We have real good chemistry,” Walters said. “We usually have a pretty good idea where we’re going to be, ready to make a pass where we’re going to be. We’re not second-guessing whether they will go this way, or that way.
“We have a bunch of scoring threats so we don’t have to look for one person scoring 30 a night. We all step up at different times.”
And Walters, of late has been stepping up for Princeton. In addition to his performance against Riverside he scored 20 and snagged eight rebounds recently at Ripley, and scored nine against perennial power Woodrow Wilson, and has nine more against Parkersburg on Tuesday.
“We know how we started the season and we now need to go ahead and finish the season,” Walters said. “The first eight or nine games we either won or lost by a few points. The last couple of games we’ve played pretty decent. We just need to put those losses behind us and try to move on and play better as a team.”
Walters believes head coach Ernie Gilliard and the Princeton coaching staff are doing their best to guide the team.
“They point us in the right direction and they do a great job,” Walters said. “It’s whether or not we are going to do what they say 100 percent. If we only do half, then they don’t look like they (coaches) are doing as great of a job.
“We have to give a 100 percent effort to what they are telling us. If we did that we could go out and beat teams by 50, but we’re just not doing it as well as we can.”
Walters also critiqued his own game.
“I’m inconsistent. In one game I might score 20 driving to the goal, the next game I might hit five threes and not drive any,” Walters commented. “Whatever is working I try to do it, just one of them.”
As for the future, Walters would like to play at the next level, but at present is unclear of what will happen down the road.
“It’s a good feeling playing as a senior, knowing this is my last year of high school and there’s only a few more games. It’s hard to believe, it’s going by so fast,” Walters lamented. “But I am going to go out there and make the best of it, try to accomplish our goals and go to Charleston and play in the state (tournament).
“As far as graduating, I might try to get a scholarship somewhere, or walk on somewhere to play. I’m uncertain about that at the moment.”
Walters and the Tigers will travel tonight to Capital.