One trip up the floor after another, things went right for the Princeton Tigers girls basketball team on Monday night.
The Tigers’ defensive pressure thoroughly disrupted the game plan of the Oak Hill Red Devils, and Princeton ran away with a 73-36 victory on the Ralph Ball Court to open postseason play in Class AAA, Region 3, Section 2.
After crafting an 18-10 lead at the end of the first period, Princeton (4-17) turned in a 27-point second quarter and limited the Red Devils (6-11) to eight points to take a 45-18 halftime lead.
Early in the third period, Princeton senior Ashley Culicerto nailed a 3-pointer for a 49-22 lead, then stole the ball at the other end of the floor, and got two offensive rebounds of Princeton misses, feeding the ball to Kaleigh Barker for another two points on a hook shot in the paint.
In the last minute of the quarter, Taylor Hamm snatched a defensive rebound and went coast to coast for the last points of the frame, giving the Tigers a 60-22 lead.
Substitutes were on the floor for most of the final period, and got experience even as the Princeton offense sputtered.
The last Oak Hill field goal was the only 3-pointer of the night for the Red Devils. Cydney Thomas hit the trey and added a foul shot with 1.8 seconds left to to lead her team with eight points.
Barker scored 15 for Princeton, going 7 for 15 at the free throw line. Culicerto scored 10 of her 13 points in the first half, and led Princeton with seven rebounds. Center Audrey Gallinger grabbed six boards.
Hamm and Mitchem each had five steals for the Tigers. Jaime Vest handed out five assists and Hamm and Culicerto each distributed four.
Those totals were mostly recorded in three quarters of play.
Princeton coach Tesla Akers pointed out another unsung player as well.
“Adrianna Mitchem really played hard, and did the little things, like she always does,” Akers said. “She really showed me on the boards, with the steals, and her all-around effort.”
Akers added, “Gosh, I can’t leave any of them out. Kaleigh is always a threat for me. My guards, they’re so pesky on guarding the other team.”
The fourth win of the year for the Tigers will be a bright spot to point to as Princeton prepares to meet Greenbrier East (20-1) at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday in Fairlea. The Spartans are ranked second in the final Associated Press Class AAA girls poll released on Monday.
“This gives them motivation, to win that big,” Akers said. “We are telling them, we’re going to take one game at a time. This is a new season; everybody’s 0-0, we start out fresh.”
— Contact Tom Bone at firstname.lastname@example.org
At The Ralph Ball Court
OAK HILL (6-11)
Alyssa Barron 2 2-5 6, Caelea Teel 2 0-0 4, Cydney Thomas 2 3-6 8, Savannah Keffer 3 0-0 6, Destini Davis 1 1-2 3, Madison Lilly 0 1-2 1, Kaitlyn Goodman 2 0-0 4, Sarah Kessler 2 0-0 4. Totals 14 7-15 36.
Danielle Hall 3 0-0 7, Taylor Hamm 4 0-0 8, Ashley Culicerto 5 1-2 13, Sarah Cole 2 0-0 4, Adrianna Mitchem 2 3-3 7, Jaime Vest 2 1-1 5, Kaleigh Barker 4 7-10 15, Kristen Walker 1 0-0 2, Tayah Belcher 5 0-0 10, Audrey Gallinger 1 0-0 2. Totals 29 11-16 73.
Oak Hill........10 8 4 14 — 36
Princeton.....18 27 15 13 — 73
3-point goals — OH 1 (Thomas); PSHS 3 (Culicerto 2, Hall 1). Fouled out — OH, Goodman.