WEST CHESTER TOWNSHIP, Ohio — Princeton High School junior point guard Solè Williams had plenty to smile about as she waited to cut down the net with her teammates early Saturday afternoon.
Williams scored a game-high 27 points to go along with six rebounds and two assists as Princeton defeated Lakota East 58-43 in a Division I girls basketball district final at Lakota West.
"It means a lot," Williams said. "This is my first time making it this far along with my teammates so it's a good feeling. We're all happy and excited for each other."
Princeton (23-3) advances to play in a Division I regional semifinal March 1 against either Mount Notre Dame or Bellbrook at a location and time to be announced later.
Princeton coach Dee Davis, a 2003 Princeton graduate, said Princeton has continued to rise to the occasion this season. Davis took over the program in April 2021 after Jill Phillips decided to step away from coaching a month prior to that.
"I didn't anticipate coming in and making this much of an impact the first year," Davis said. "But, I'm very blessed to have these group of young ladies and my staff. They have worked so hard and put in so much time. And it's paying off. Like I said before we're not done yet. We still have a goal at hand and we have to keep staying focused every single day."
Princeton had to persevere through a four-point halftime deficit. Lakota East (15-10) led 30-26 including three 3-pointers in the final five minutes of the second quarter.
But, Princeton opened the third quarter on an 11-2 run including six points for Williams. Princeton outscored Lakota East 13-5 in the third quarter.
"Solè is Solè," Davis said. "I'm so proud of her. She missed last season and she's come back with a chip on her shoulder. And she has fought every single game. I think she earned some respect right now. This kid has been leading this team all season and she's hungry."
Lakota East coach Dan Wallace said the momentum shifted when Williams consistently made shots in the second half.
"Solè Williams is a tremendous basketball player," Wallace said. "Kept her head on her shoulders, made some big-time shots. She can do everything inside, outside. She's a really, really good player."
Princeton was also led by junior forward Dede Carter-Hartley, who had 10 points, six rebounds and two assists.
Lakota East junior guard/forward Savannah Smith scored 17 points including 4-of-6 from beyond the 3-point arc along with five rebounds. Senior point guard Sarah Sewak added 10 points.
"I'm so proud of this team and the tournament run they made," Wallace said.