Princeton defeats Olmsted Falls to capture first title since 2014
By: Mike Dyer
DAYTON, Ohio — The journey is completed. The Princeton High School girls basketball team is the Division I state champion.
The Vikings defeated Olmsted Falls 69-51 Saturday night at University of Dayton Arena.
“They’re excited right now,” Princeton coach Dee Davis said of the Vikings. “Everybody is feeling it. I wanted them to have fun with this experience, take it in because it’s about them. I told them from day one – this is what you want. You guys got to trust us. And they did that. I’m so proud of these young ladies.”
Four players scored in double figures Saturday night including senior forward Diawna Carter-Hartley, who had a team-high 18 points to go along with nine rebounds.
Sophomore forward Kali Fortson scored 16 points and had 12 rebounds. Senior guard La’Sonja Hill scored 13 points. Senior point guard Solè Williams scored 13 points and had eight assists. Sophomore guard Mari Gerton scored nine points and had eight rebounds and four assists.
“I never had this feeling; we’ve never been this far in my whole four years,” said Williams, who was named the Gatorade Ohio player of the year this week. “So it means a whole lot. It’s very special.”
Davis, a 2003 Princeton graduate, was emotional during the state championship ceremony. Davis returned to the program in April 2021 and plenty of success has accompanied the team in a short amount of time.
“Nobody knows the amount of hours that you put in,” Davis said. “How many challenges that you’re faced with, so much adversity throughout the year. And to be able to finish like this – I can’t help but feel it. So it’s just a lot of hard work paying off.”
Princeton was ranked No. 3 in the season’s final Associated Press Division I state poll, while Olmsted Falls was No. 4.
Princeton (28-2), ranked No. 24 nationally by MaxPreps, captured its third state title in program history. Princeton, winners of 17 consecutive games, also won state titles in 2014 (Division I) and 1987 (Class AAA).
It was a memorable journey for Princeton, which defeated Mason in the regional semifinal and Kings in the regional final.
Princeton rallied from a five-point third quarter deficit to defeat Grafton Midview 61-57 in a Division I state semifinal Friday night.
The Princeton players and coaches liked to say during the postseason tournament that no one wanted to go home. That was evident during the state tournament.
Princeton became the second Greater Cincinnati girls basketball team to win a state title on Saturday. Purcell Marian (27-2) won the Division II championship with a 57-48 win over Canal Fulton Northwest.
Purcell Marian planned a school celebration Monday while Princeton has plans for a prep assembly Wednesday.
Reposted with permission from WCPO 9 Cincinnati