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Princeton clinches conference crown

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PRINCETON — With the game seemingly in hand, 61-50, the Princeton High girls varsity basketball team seemed to be well on their way to clinching the 1-A Carolina Conference championship against hated-rival Rosewood on Thursday’s senior night. But with four minutes left in the game, Rosewood head coach Greg Hawkins gathered his players and walked to the back locker room with no intentions to return. The result of the game was ruled to be a concession, meaning unlike a forfeit, all stats stand and Princeton clinched the conference title for the first time since 2016.

“It’s never happened to me,” Princeton head coach Paula Wooten said.

It was a strange sight to see a team walk off due to foul calls despite leading the foul count in the second half six to two, but even stranger as someone behind the Rosewood bench was escorted out by the Johnston County Sheriff’s while flailing around. Hawkins had received a tech in the second quarter for arguing with the refs about fouls. Rosewood’s athletic director Robert Britt did not allow his coach to be available to the media and said Hawkins made a decision based on the safety of his players. He said Hawkins felt that his players and fans were about to escalate to fighting. Rosewood could face a penalty from the NCHSAA for their actions.

Rosewood was set to host the conference tourney this year, but Gaster said in the conference AD meeting planned for Friday that he would ask for them not to be allowed to host for Thursday night’s actions. Gaster also said he didn’t think the environment was safe because of the Feb. 6 meeting when the gym was so hot people in the stands had to leave due to sickness, players missed game action for heat exhaustion and players slipped and fell on the floor due to humidity inside the gym.

The shenanigans of Rosewood overshadowed one of the best games Princeton has played all season. Wooten’s box and one on Rosewood’s best player, Braylee Butts, held her to 10 points and Meredith Wooten controlled the game with 18 points. Senior Takira Cummings ended with a game-high 19 points.

ROSEWOOD (50)

Bell 11, Myers 12, Butts 10, Dozier 11, Morris 5, Marak 1.

PRINCETON (61)

Cummings 19, Wooten 18, Cook 2, Nelson 4, Woodall 4, Braswell 14.

Score by quarters:

Rosewood 10 22 9 9 — 50

Princeton 16 21 14 10 — 61

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