WEST CHESTER, Ohio — The Princeton High School girls basketball team will play for a regional title Saturday night.
The Vikings defeated Mason 59-55 Tuesday night in a Division I regional semifinal at Lakota West. The packed gymnasium included 1,410 tickets sold for the third matchup this season between the Greater Miami Conference teams.
Princeton (25-2) lost to Mason (25-2) twice in the regular season but wouldn't be denied at the start of this regional tournament.
Sophomore Mari Gerton scored a game-high 18 points to lead Princeton, which has won 14 consecutive games.
"She did a phenomenal job," Davis said. "Like I said in the beginning of the year, she's been a huge addition to our program. We had a great conversation earlier today before we had shoot-around and all that. I let her know that she is a vital piece to this and we need her. And I think tonight she stepped up in a tremendous way."
Senior Solè Williams added 11 points, senior Dede Carter-Hartley had 11 points and seven rebounds while sophomore Kali Fortson had 10 points and nine rebounds.
Princeton led 24-22 at halftime before it went on a 9-0 run to start the third quarter. Williams had a steal and layup that helped the Vikings outscore the Comets 13-5 in the third quarter.
"They showed grit, they showed hustle," Davis said. "They showed fight. They were not willing to go home. So it's just a proud moment to know all the hard work and all the sweat and tears is paying off."
Princeton, ranked No. 3 in the season's final Associated Press Division I state poll, will be in its first regional final since 2014 — the same year the Vikings won their second state championship.
They will play either Lakota East (22-3) or Kings (21-5) in a regional final at 7 p.m. Saturday at Lakota West. Kings and Lakota East play in the other regional semifinal at 7 p.m. Wednesday.
While the Princeton locker room celebrated the win Tuesday night, Davis said the Vikings must keep the victory in perspective.
"We can't get complacent," Davis said. "We can't get comfortable. It's a great accomplishment but we have more work to do. So we've got to get back in the lab. We will be here tomorrow paying attention to the next opponent and we'll get in the gym and get better."
Mason, ranked No. 20 nationally by MaxPreps this week, was ranked No. 1 in the season's final state poll.
The Comets were led by senior Carly Prows who had 17 points. Freshman Anna Habra had 15 points and nine rebounds. Sophomore Madison Parrish had 13 points, seven rebounds and three assists.
DIVISION II: Purcell Marian and Badin will play in the regional final at 7 p.m. Friday at Springfield High School.
Purcell Marian defeated Bexley 63-24 in a regional semifinal Tuesday night. Sophomore Ky'Aira Miller scored 16 points including four 3-pointers. Sophomore Dee Alexander added 14 points. Sophomore Cy'Aira Miller, Ky'Aira's sister, had 12 points - all on 3-pointers. Friday will be the fifth consecutive regional final for Purcell Marian (24-2), which has won 14 consecutive games.
Badin defeated Alter 49-47 in the other regional semifinal Tuesday night. Alter was the 2022 Division II state champion. Badin (24-2) has won 14 consecutive games.