Before Franklin County star Princess Stewart takes her talents to Xavier University, the star guard will play one more game to cap her marvelous high school career.
Stewart is one of 12 girls who make up the Kentucky high school all-star basketball team that will take on Indiana’s all-stars this weekend.
“I think we actually have a chance to win; like the past couple of years Kentucky hasn’t won, but I think this year … we actually got a pretty, really good chance to win,” Stewart said.
Kentucky’s girls’ team has lost seven straight games to Indiana, and the boys have dropped 16 in a row.
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Stewart earned her spot on the team by leading Franklin County in points, rebounds and assists per game. She guided her team to its second straight state championship game appearance. The Flyers lost this year to Mercer County, 85-71.
I just got to worry about the next chapter, close that one and open up the next one.
“(The championship game) was sad, definitely the outcome of it, how it ended was emotional but, for me, I just got to worry about the next chapter, close that one and open up the next one,” Stewart said.
Stewart’s next chapter will take place 80 miles north of Franklin County at Xavier University. Stewart became the fourth athlete under Coach Joey Thacker to advance to the NCAA Division I level when she committed to the Musketeers last September.
Stewart will join a team that only graduated three seniors, all of them starters. Xavier was 4-14 in Big East Conference play last season.
“She’s going to go play in a very good conference against very good competition,” Thacker said. “The Georgetowns and the DePauls, and people like that of the world she’s going to have to play against up there in her first year, are high-quality programs.”
The Big East had three teams make the NCAA Tournament last season.
However, the step up in competition won’t be unfamiliar for Stewart, who has played at Franklin County since she was in the eighth grade.
Franklin County typically builds tough schedules for their girls’ team, and Stewart’s senior year was no exception. Franklin County played eight teams that finished in the top 15 of MaxPreps’ rankings.
“We play an awfully hard schedule, and we really ask a lot of our kids on a daily basis from an expectations standpoint on the court,” Thacker said. “I hope that what we’ve been able to do and accomplish has prepared her to go up there and be — not be shell-shocked.”
Regardless of the challenges Stewart might face, she said she will be ready to face them.
“I’m very, very excited to be playing at Xavier. I think the transition will be pretty good and I think I’ll be ready for it,” she said.
What: Annual Kentucky-Indiana All-Star basketball series pitting Kentucky’s best seniors against Indiana’s best seniors. Girls’ games played first followed by a boys’ game each day. Proceeds from the Kentucky games benefit the Kentucky Lion’s Eye Foundation.
Where: Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis; Frankfort Convention Center
When: 5 p.m. Saturday (Indianapolis); 2 p.m. Sunday (Frankfort)