The Africentric Early College girls basketball team will play for its fourth state title at 10:45 a.m. March 16 after edging Beverly Fort Frye 43-40 in a Division III state semifinal March 14 at Ohio State.
The defending-champion Nubians, who trailed 12-4 after the first quarter, got 3-pointers by sophomore guard Dayuna Johnson and junior guard Alexis Parks during the closing minute of the second quarter and led 19-18 by halftime.
“Fort Frye did a fantastic job defensively,” Africentric coach Will McKinney said. “(The 3s by Johnson and Parks at the end of the first half were) the difference in the game to me. If Alexis Parks misses that 3, we might be back on our heels a little bit.”
The lead changed hands nine times in the second half, with Africentric grabbing a 38-37 lead with 3 minutes, 58 seconds left that it didn’t relinquish.
Johnson made a pair of free throws with 57.8 left to make it 41-37 and junior guard/forward Kyra Jones hit two foul shots with 31 seconds left for a 43-37 lead.
Fort Frye senior guard Morgan Liedtke made a 3-pointer with 18.5 remaining, but Cadets junior guard Shawntell Parsons missed a 3-pointer with 5 seconds left that would have tied the game at 43.
Africentric improves to 22-5 and will play Anna or Orrville for the title.
Senior post player Marley Hill had 11 points and 12 rebounds, Parks had nine points and junior guard Sierra Harley added eight for the Nubians.
Fort Frye, which got 12 points and nine rebounds from senior guard Deidra Combs, finished 25-4.