With 2011 graduate Raven Ferguson no longer leading the way, the Africentric Early College girls basketball team has had a new look this winter.

With 2011 graduate Raven Ferguson no longer leading the way, the Africentric Early College girls basketball team has had a new look this winter.

Things haven't seemed much different on the scoreboard, though.

As has been the case for most of their nine seasons as a program, the Nubians have been winning at a consistent rate.

Winners of seven consecutive district championships and five City titles in six seasons, Africentric was 12-3 overall before playing Columbus South on Jan. 24.

If the Nubians win their remaining City League-South Division games over Marion-Franklin on Friday, Jan. 27, and Eastmoor Academy on Feb. 3, they'll advance to the league final Feb. 11.

One player who has helped the team keep its run of success going is senior Kiyanna Black, a 5-foot-5 guard who has signed with Ohio University and was averaging 19 points and two steals through 13 games.

During a 68-58 victory over St. Joseph (W.Va.) Central Catholic on Dec. 17, she had 32 points, nine rebounds and eight steals.

"Kiyanna Black has been carrying us," coach Will McKinney said. "She had a couple bad games, but I still feel like she's the best player in the area. I'm actually a lot deeper this year than I have been in the past, but she's our No. 1 scoring option. We kind of go as she goes. She's only 5-5, but she's just a pit bull out there."

The Nubians have been boosted by the additions of senior Jaren Francis and junior Marley Hill, who transferred from Harvest Prep and Pickerington Central, respectively. Sophomores Darianne Seward and Ayrielle Stith and seniors Quanita Fair and Jazmine Brooks also have contributed.

Black played for Independence as a freshman but sat out her sophomore year after transferring to Africentric. Last season, she averaged 11 points as the Nubians finished 22-2.

Ferguson, who was the ThisWeek Super 12 captain last season and was a four-year starter for the Nubians, is playing at Ohio State.

"I think we can do some great things in the (Division III) tournament," said Black, who also considered Eastern Kentucky and Eastern Michigan before signing with Ohio in November. "It really does feel different this year because everybody can score. Raven was a big part of our offense, but we have back a lot of role players from last year. We have to work on all of the little things like rebounding, making good passes and everybody boxing out. We've also got to play with intensity. I think we'll be fine."

•STARS WRESTLERS SHINING - The Centennial wrestling team will play host to the City League tournament on Feb. 11 and is hoping to contend with four-time defending champion Marion-Franklin for the title.

Of the 35 competitors on their team, the Stars have seven senior starters: Derek Evans (182 pounds), Stanley Hendricks (132), Michael Jamison (152), Angel Leeman (170), Ananias Pittman (heavyweight), Joel Waits (145) and Desmond Wright (220). The other senior is Robert Levine, who provides depth at 152.

Waits is a two-time league champion and Hendricks was a Division II district qualifier at 125 a year ago.

Junior Jeff Seymour (125) and freshmen Jordan Emerson (106) and Mike McCallister (113) are others who have contributed, according to veteran coach Mark Shaffer. Seymour is a move-in from California.

The Stars are looking for their first City championship.

Shaffer coached the Stars from 1982-90 and then restarted the program in 1999 after it went dormant in the early 1990s.

"We have eight seniors on the team this year, which is always good," Shaffer said. "This is probably one of the better teams I've had. It's a great group of kids who are hard-working. After 30-some years being around wrestling, these kids are the best I've been around."

Centennial will play host to Whetstone on Wednesday, Feb. 1, with the winner of the annual meet receiving the Golden Grappler trophy.

•SCOTS BOYS ROLLING - The Walnut Ridge boys basketball team is hoping for a second consecutive berth in the City championship game. The game will be Feb. 18.

The Scots were 12-0 overall and 8-0 in the City-South before playing Independence on Jan. 24.

Their only close league games during the first round of City-South action came against South (52-50 on Dec. 13) and Africentric (61-57 on Jan. 13). They defeated South 84-30 in the second round of league play Jan. 20.

According to coach Jason Bates, the Scots endured a feeling-out period as a deep and talented senior class worked on sharing the load.

"We've had our ups and downs, but I'm definitely happy with our record," Bates said. "Early on, we had to do some different things with our lineup. It's a different type of team because we have so many guys that can do things well. After the second or third game, we kind of got it."

Senior guard Roy Alexander was the team's leading scorer through 11 games, averaging 13 points, but classmates Isaiah Brooks, Fred Hardgrove, Allasane Kah, Adam McCall and Kai Turner all are returnees who have settled into roles. Senior Grant Harris, who joined the program after previously playing for Harvest Prep, also has contributed.

"We have so many different guys contribute, but as long as we get a 'W,' it's fine," Bates said. "I told them at the beginning of the year that if you ask any of my guys in the past who have made first-team all-City whether they would rather have won the City or been first-team all-City, they all would have wanted to win it. They're all really sacrificing, and it's a testament to their great leadership."