The Africentric Early College girls basketball team’s hope of winning a fourth state championship and second consecutive in Division III ended March 16 with a 67-49 loss to Anna at Ohio State.
Senior post player Marley Hill finished with 19 points, 13 rebounds and eight blocks for Africentric, but her team couldn’t overcome a double-digit first-half deficit.
Africentric, which beat Anna 70-66 in overtime a year ago for the title, finished 22-6.
The Rockets won their second state title in three seasons and third overall and finished 26-4.
“To be one of the last two teams playing is a nice thing to happen,” coach Will McKinney said. “Anna was just the better team today. They got all the 50-50 balls. For us, I thought we played hard and aggressive, but the ball sometimes goes in the basket and sometimes it doesn’t, and today it didn’t.”
Anna led 14-10 by the end of the first quarter and was ahead 27-20 with 3 minutes, 38 seconds left in the first half before closing the second quarter on a 6-0 run.
Africentric closed to within 36-28 with 5:04 left in the third quarter, as Hill and junior guard Sierra Harley each made baskets and junior guard Darianne Seward had four points.
Anna led 43-34 with 1:53 to go in the third and closed the quarter on a 7-0 run.
The Nubians never were closer than 14 during the final period.
Anna limited Africentric to 21 of 70 (30 percent) from the floor and the Rockets outrebounded the Nubians 47-36.
Anna was led by sophomore guard/forward Cayla Bensman's 21 points and eight rebounds, senior forward/center Natalie Billing added 17 points and nine rebounds and senior guard Erica Huber had 15 points and nine rebounds.