Fourth quarter run lifts Princeton past Toledo St. John’s to the D-I title game

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Princeton guard and Ohio State recruit Jordan Sibert had 15 points in the D-I semifinals (Photo by Gary Housteau)

Clinging to a 34-32 lead heading into the fourth quarter of the Division I state semifinal game at Ohio State’s Schottenstein Center, Princeton poured in 21 points in the final frame to down Toledo St. John’s Jesuit 55-41 in front of 12,154 fans to advance to Saturday’s state championship game.


COLUMBUS – For the Princeton Vikings, their ship has finally come in.

Clinging to a 34-32 lead heading into the fourth quarter of the Division I state semifinal game at Ohio State’s Schottenstein Center, Princeton poured in 21 points in the final frame to down Toledo St. John’s Jesuit 55-41 in front of 12,154 fans to advance to Saturday’s state championship game.

Princeton finished state runner-up in 1972 in the program’s only other trip to the state tournament.

Junior guard Jordan Sibert netted eight points and senior forward Marquis Horne added six in the fourth quarter to lead the Vikings to the win.

Sibert, an Ohio State recruit, had 15 points, four rebounds and six steals in the game. Horne, an Ohio University recruit, finished with 18 points, six rebounds and four blocks.

“We felt confident as soon as we came out at half time,” Sibert said. “We knew at some point in time we were going to have to make a run and as we got out there and continued to make a run, we felt good about it and we continued to play from there.”

Said Princeton head coach Josh Andrews, “(Sibert and Horne) show what we have been about all year. You are not guaranteed to makes shots and things don’t always go your way but these guys have great poise and character. We have won four or five games because of these two guys.”

Senior guard and Miami (Ohio) signee Orlando Williams chipped in 10 points and five rebounds for Princeton.

Defense was big on the night for the Vikings forcing 24 turnovers.

“We just had way too many turnovers,” said St. John’s head coach Ed Heintschel. “Some of them were forced and some we just dribbled into bad situations. They were able to get a large number of steals which resulted in easy baskets for them.

“They are a very good team and I am very impressed by them.”

Princeton (25-1) also out-rebounded St. John’s 34-25.

“Rebounding was another concern,” Heintschel said.

St. John’s (20-6) held a 32-29 lead late in third quarter but Princeton went on a 13-0 run paced by Sibert and Horne.

“We’ve done that all year where we go in spurts,” said Andrews. “We wish we could do that for all 32 minutes. Just grinding the game out and being tough, we like to think that how athletic and conditioned we are will wear on a team.”

St. John’s was led by guard Michael Taylor with 18 points and five rebounds. Forward Tim Simmons had a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds.

But the seniors combined for eight turnovers.

“I just think we had too many turnovers and it helped their confidence,” Taylor said. “I think we broke down a little bit after (that run) and it hurt us. We couldn’t pick it back up after that.”

Princeton will take on Columbus Northland in the Division I state championship game Saturday at 8 p.m. Northland and Mr. Basketball award-winner Jared Sullinger cruised past Warren G. Harding 73-59 in the other semifinal game.

Sullinger, also and Ohio State recruit, is a teammate with Sibert on the AAU circuit on the All-Ohio Red squad as well as Northland forward and Xavier recruit J.D. Weatherspoon.

But Sibert’s allegiances will be with Princeton in the title game.

“It is going to be great competition,” Sibert said. “We are going to have to step up and play together as a team. (Sullinger and I) real close but tomorrow on the court it is about my Princeton family.”

Overtime: Princeton state semifinal win extra special

 

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