Girls Basketball - Div. III State Final
Africentric rallies in second half to win third state title
The Africentric Early College girls basketball team moved into new territory and ended Anna's winning streak when it beat the defending state champion Rockets 70-66 in overtime in the Division III state final March 17 at Ohio State.
The state championship is the third for the Nubians, making them one of 16 girls programs in Ohio to have won at least three titles. The victory also snapped a 50-game winning streak by Anna, which finished 27-1.
Africentric, which also won state titles in 2007 and 2009, finished 23-4.
“I had a dream about us winning the game last night,” said sophomore guard Sierra Harley, who had 10 points against Anna. “I dreamed that we were getting our state championship hoodies and a shirt. I just wanted us to get it.”
The Nubians led 18-13 after the first quarter, but Anna got 10 points from Natalie Billing during the second quarter and took a 31-25 lead into halftime. Africentric tied the score at 35 with 3 minutes, 57 seconds left in the third quarter and the lead changed hands three more times during the period.
Anna senior post player Ashley Frohne, who had 21 points and eight rebounds, fouled out with 2:21 remaining and Africentric leading 52-51. The Nubians then took a 57-51 lead with 45.8 seconds left.
A pair of three-point plays by Anna, however, tied the score at 57, and Africentric’s Kiyanna Black missed a jump shot with two seconds left, sending the game to overtime.
In overtime, Black had four points and three rebounds and Harley scored five points as the Nubians led 68-61 with 1:17 to go.
Anna pulled within 68-66, but Billing missed what would have been a tying layup with 20 seconds left, and Africentric’s Ayrielle Stith made two free throws with 1.8 seconds remaining to seal the outcome.
Black finished with 27 points and 12 rebounds and Marley Hill added 11 points and 11 rebounds for Africentric.
Anna shot 23-for-66 (34.8 percent) from the field and 19-for-37 (51.4 percent) from the free-throw line. Billing had 22 points and 14 rebounds.
“I’m just excited that we won,” Nubians coach Will McKinney said. “I know how hard we worked to get here. Anna did a great job of exposing our youth and the game was hard-fought. We appreciate the win.”