Princeton will play Grafton Midview in a state semifinal March 10 at UD Arena
By: Mike Dyer
WEST CHESTER TOWNSHIP, Ohio — The memorable journey continues for the Princeton High School girls basketball team. Princeton is going to the state Final Four next week in Dayton.
“It’s a surreal moment,” Princeton coach Dee Davis said. “I’m very proud of our kids; I’m excited for them more than anything. They worked extremely hard this season. We’re not done yet but I feel very proud of the progress that we’ve made. The continuity and togetherness that we’ve had. The girls have really bought in and it’s just been a lot of fun to coach these young women.”
Princeton defeated Kings 65-53 in a Division I regional final Saturday night in front of a packed gymnasium at Lakota West where 2,000 tickets were sold for the game.
Princeton, which has won 15 consecutive games, was led by senior point guard Solè Williams who had team-high 22 points along with five rebounds and five assists. Senior guard La’Sonja Hill added 14 points and three steals. Sophomore guard Mari Gerton had 14 points, six rebounds and two assists. Senior forward Dede Carter-Hartley had 12 points and seven rebounds.
Princeton (26-2) advances to play Grafton Midview (23-4) in a Division I state semifinal at 6 p.m. March 10 at University of Dayton Arena. The winner plays in the state final against Olmsted Falls or Pickerington Central at 8:30 p.m. March 11 at UD Arena.
This is Princeton’s first regional title since 2014 when the Vikings won the Division I state title – its second in program history (Class AAA champions in 1987).
“The mentality was just to win,” Williams said. “I didn’t care how to win. If I had to assist the whole game, if I had to score all the points. If I had to pass the ball, do anything I can just to win – that’s all I care about. I really don’t care about the stats or anything – just the win that’s the priority.”
Davis said Williams had a strong motivation this week after not being on the Ohio Ms. Basketball list of finalists. Williams, a Texas A&M signee, was named the Southwest District Division I player of the year.
Davis said the fact that Williams wasn’t an Ohio Ms. Basketball finalist was something that was discussed this week.
“That was a slap in the face because this kid has worked her tail off,” Davis said. “I’ve been with her for two seasons and no kid has ever worked harder than her. And I believe that she was well-deserving of that so I think she has a chip on her shoulder at this point. She feels disrespected and she’s leading her team. She’s done a tremendous job these last two years.”
The game was close throughout the first half as Kings led 19-17 at the end of the first quarter. Princeton led 28-25 at halftime, but the Vikings outscored the Knights 17-6 in the third quarter.
Kings (22-6) set a program for most wins in a season and also earned its first district title and regional semifinal win in program history. Junior Kassie Ingram scored a game-high 25 points. Senior guard Madi Barnett added 12 points and six rebounds.
Kings coach Steve Green said no one at the school will soon forget the memorable journey this postseason.
“I told them that you set so many school records this year and to walk out with your head held high,” Green said. “I told my seniors how they have raised the bar for this program and that legacy will always be there. I also challenged my underclassmen to be ready for next year and we want to be here again.”
Reposted with permission from WCPO 9 Cincinnati