Britt Prince attempts a shot during warm ups of a basketball game during her childhood.
A young Britt Prince attempts a jump shot during warmups. Photo courtesy of Ann Prince

A noisy leather basketball slaps cold wood, rubber basketball shoes screech across fresh wax, and Britt Prince’s mind floods with noise. She examines the floor with sharp eyes, trying to decide how to dodge her defender while planning her exact path to the basket. No question she’ll get there. It’s just a matter of what the perfect method is.

However, the 2024 4-star recruit is used to all the commotion. As a high school freshman last year, Britt led Elkhorn North to its first girls basketball state championship in its first year as a school. Under the direction of Head Coach Ann Prince, who doubles as Britt’s mother, the Wolves put their school on the Nebraska high school basketball map. 

Britt said she prepared for this moment her whole life.

“Ever since I was younger, I’ve been dribbling a ball, like as soon as I could walk,” Britt said. “My mom has pictures of it. I just fell in love with it.”

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Britt Prince, a sophomore at Elkhorn North, dribbles a basketball as a toddler. Photo courtesy of Ann Prince

As she grew up, her basketball skills continued to improve. Her mom, Ann, coached for Midland University’s women’s basketball team, and Britt would tag along and shoot on the side hoops while the team practiced. 

Then, in first grade, she started playing in an Omaha Sports Academy league.

“It was a little more competitive, and I really started liking the game,” Britt said. “Then I started to figure out, ‘Hey, I’m pretty good at this.’”

Others noticed Britt’s early affinity for basketball as well. Tony Weinandt, Ann’s assistant coach at Elkhorn North, watched Britt grow up and saw her basketball skills improve. 

“Britt has always been in the gym and not forced to be in the gym,” Weinandt said. “She wanted to be in the gym with a ball in her hands. She’s such a student of the game, and she was a little girl who just wanted to be around sports.”

Dawn Weinandt, Tony’s wife, said she saw Britt’s promise as a basketball player when she coached Britt at Fremont Middle School.

“She’s very positive and very encouraging,” Dawn said. “She always tried to help her teammates get better.”

Britt’s dedication and hard work paid off when she received her first college offer from Creighton University in June of 2020 during her eighth-grade year.

“I was really shocked and excited,” Britt said. “I was really grateful for Creighton believing in me, especially before my first high school game. It was amazing and a dream come true.”

Three months later, Britt received an offer from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

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On March 6, 2021 at 2 p.m., the Elkhorn North girls basketball team took the court at Pinnacle Bank Arena for the Class B State Championship. Thirty-two minutes later, the buzzer sounded and decided a champion. Behind a 13-point, 14-rebound double-double from Britt, combined with double-figure scoring performances from sophomores Grace Thompson and Hannah Nadgwick, the Wolves won what no other team has accomplished in Nebraska history.

“We all just ran onto the court and tackled each other and ran to a dog pile,” Britt said. “We were all screaming and hugging and everything because I’m pretty sure none of us thought it could happen.”

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Britt Prince and her teammates dog pile on the court after winning the 2020 Class B Girls Basketball State Championship. Photo courtesy of Ann Prince
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Britt Prince and her teammates loft the Class B State Championship trophy into the air. Photo courtesy of Ann Prince
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Britt Prince poses with the Class B State Championship trophy with her brother, Mack, a sophomore at The University of Kansas, her mother and coach, Ann Prince, and her father, Mark Prince. Photo courtesy of Ann Prince

Ann said she felt the same shock and disbelief.

“It was a dream come true, and there’s no doubt about it,” Ann said. “I almost had to pinch myself, and I still do sometimes because I’m like, ‘Is this real? Did this really happen?’”

Ann attributed the team’s immediate success to coachability.

“Kids were buying into their roles and supporting each other,” Ann said.

On top of that, the girls were “like sponges.”

“They were so young and willing to learn and willing to ask questions,” Weinandt said. “They had absolutely no egos, just acceptance and camaraderie. It was a special group to be around.”

Britt said she felt supported from the first open gym.

“We had great chemistry and great culture, and we all got along with each other in the locker room,” Britt said. “It’s easier to play with people you get along with, and obviously that translated to the court.”

This year, the Wolves are returning all of their starters and main contributors from last year, in addition to three new players joining the team. However, going into the season, Weinandt said he is just focused on improvement.

“You don’t really want to use the word ‘repeat’ or anything like that,” Weinandt said. “I think this summer we did a lot of good things towards that direction. I think our strength is a little better. Our physicality is a little better, and I don’t think you can ever go wrong with that.”

Britt said she is focused on being the best she can be.

“To play the top competition, you need to be ready,” she said. “You need to be on your best game, every game, and just work hard all the time.”

Now, with 21 offers, and seven from teams in the AP Top 25 last season, Britt said she feels both excited and humbled.

“I just feel honored that all of these colleges believe in me, and they want me on their team,” Britt said. 

In addition to Britt, other players from the Elkhorn North girls basketball team have received offers to play collegiate sports. 

Reilly Palmer will play basketball at the College of Saint Mary, senior Michaela Palmer will play softball for Benedictine College and junior Grace Heaney will play volleyball for Purdue. Senior Molly Bruggeman also has offers from multiple programs.

This level of success doesn’t surprise Weinandt.

“I think the one thing that stands out when you watch our team on tape is how hard they work,” he said. “I think coaches appreciate that — if you work hard and are coachable and they can fit you into their system.”

Besides basketball, getting to coach Britt and watch her grow as a person has been the most special experience, her mother said.

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Ann and Britt Prince smile with the 2021 Class B State Championship trophy. Photo courtesy of Ann Prince

“It helps with that mother-daughter bond, being right there to witness and hopefully help her along her journey,” Ann said. “She’s truly a nice, caring person who gets along with others and wants to do the right thing. So beyond basketball, I’m most proud of her for the person that she is.”

In the future, Britt will benefit from her talent and dedication on the basketball court and from her coaches’ advice.

“Live in the now. Don’t look ahead and don’t dwell on the past,” Weinandt said. “Just live in the now and take advantage of the situation that’s in front of you.

Ann echoed this, adding that staying hardworking and humble is the key to anyone’s success.

“There’s a lot of people who sell themselves short. Just keep dreaming big and believing in yourself. Why not you?”

Emma Hastings is a senior at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a sports media and broadcast production double major and an environmental studies minor. She hopes to work in live sports production in the future. She is a video production intern for the Huskers and the Lincoln Saltdogs, and she enjoys traveling and spending time with friends & family in her free time.