- Associated Press - Saturday, March 15, 2014

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Kelsey Mitchell saved the best for last.

The Associated Press Ms. Basketball scored 30 points, and Carlie Pogue added 17 points and 14 rebounds to lead top-ranked Cincinnati Princeton to its second big-school championship with a 61-55 victory over North Canton Hoover on Saturday night.

“I can’t speak right now,” the future Ohio State player said. “I’m speechless.”

Princeton (28-2) improved to 2 for 2 in the state tournament, also winning the title in its only other appearance in 1987.

Mitchell scored 15 points in the first quarter and then became less of an offensive force as her team never trailed after she fueled a 9-2 start. She also had four rebounds and three assists and three steals.

Asked the turning point of the game, Hoover (26-3) Coach Abbey Allerding smiled and said, “Kelsey Mitchell.”

With Mitchell leading the way, Princeton led 19-13 after a quarter and maintained it for most of the way.

“In the first quarter we came out very confident. We were playing our game,” said Princeton Coach Jill Phillips. “They made a little run at us in the second quarter (to cut the lead to two points) and in that last minute we went back up seven. That gave us momentum going into the half. It had started to shift a little bit.

“Then we just did what we needed to do down the stretch to close it out.”

Down as many as 14, Hoover cut the lead to four with 17 seconds left.

But then Mitchell was fouled on the inbounds pass and, of course, hit both shots to end the drama.

The tone was set at the outset, however.

“The first quarter really killed us,” Allerding said.

Princeton led 31-24 after a wild and entertaining opening half.

Mitchell had a huge first period, scoring 15 points, hitting 4 of 6 shots from the field, 1 of 2 3-pointers and all six of her free throws. She came out for the second quarter with a large Band-Aid on her chin and cheek.

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