Kyle Croxton of the Upper Arlington High School girls basketball team says she hates to be selfish.
Given how she was shooting in a Division I district final against Newark on March 1 at Ohio Dominican, her Golden Bears teammates couldn’t get her the ball fast enough.
Croxton, a senior guard, scored a career-high 21 points to carry second-seeded UA past third-seeded Newark 50-38 for the Bears’ first district title since 1989. Croxton hit five 3-pointers, none of which touched the rim.
UA will play Dublin Coffman in a regional semifinal at 8 p.m. March 4 at Otterbein University.
“I used to tend to look to pass more than shoot, but once the coaches told me to shoot and they had confidence in me, I put that confidence into myself and I guess it worked,” Croxton said. “I just wanted to play for my team. I hope that’s what I did. This is a special moment for the team and the program. I am so proud of everyone.”
Kortney Eisenman scored eight of her 10 points in the fourth quarter for UA (24-1), which seized control with an early 15-3 run and never trailed again. Andi Norman added seven points and 19 rebounds.
Kym Royster led Newark (20-6) but shot only 6-of-18 from the field, including missing seven of her first eight shots. Maggie Mitchell added 13 points for the Wildcats, who were seeking their first district championship since 2000.
“I can’t even tell you how rewarding this is,” UA coach Chris Savage said. “Of the (47) teams in the Central District, to be one of the four that’s able to call yourself a district champion is incredible — especially from a school not particularly known for girls basketball — gives our program and our community such pride. These girls, despite me probably, have committed such a lofty achievement.”
Reynoldsburg 46, Hilliard Bradley 44
De’Shay Thomas made a running jump shot as time expired to lift top-seeded Reynoldsburg to a 46-44 win over Hilliard Bradley in a Division I district championship March 1 at Ohio Dominican.
The Raiders improved to 22-4 and will play Northland (22-2) in a regional semifinal Tuesday, March 4, at Otterbein.
After Bradley’s Shelby Haworth made a second 3-pointer in the final 48 seconds tied the game at 46 with nine second left, Reynoldsburg called timeout with :06.4 showing. Thomas then raced the length of the court, finding a seam down the lane before releasing her shot from about 10 feet to propel the Raiders to their fifth consecutive district title.
Alyssa Rice scored 13 of her team-high 18 points in the second half, including the first 11 of the fourth quarter. She was the only Reynoldsburg player to score in the period until Thomas’ game-winner.
Nicole Orr added 10 points and Thomas finished with seven points.
Meredith Miller scored a game-high 20 points and Haworth added 18 for the 12th-seeded Jaguars, who finished 19-7.
Bradley led 19-12 after the first quarter and enjoyed its largest lead at 21-12 before settling for a 25-20 halftime lead. The game was tied at 33 entering the fourth quarter
— Brad Emerine
Northland 53, Pickerington North 32
For the third time in four seasons, Northland is a Division I district champion after cruising past Pickerington North 53-32 on March 1 at Ohio Dominican University.
Northland held North to 16 points in each half, with its biggest offensive quarter coming in the fourth when it outscored North 15-6.
Senior guard Brooklynn Peterson made nine of 18 free throws and finished with 21 points for the Vikings, who improved to 23-2. Miesha Howard added 11 points.
North, which has lost three consecutive district finals, finished 14-11.
Morgan Bassett-Smith and Brittany Johnson each scored 14 points for the Panthers.
— Jarrod Ulrey
Dublin Coffman 62, Olentangy 42
Sade Olyatoye scored 20 points to lead ninth-seeded Coffman past 13th-seeded Olentangy in a Division I district championship at Ohio Dominican.
Coffman improved to 20-6.
Morgan Horvath scored 17 points for the Braves, who finished 17-9.
— Scott Hennen
Eastmoor Academy 61, Johnstown-Monroe 46
Amani Burke scored 17 points with two 3-pointers to lead second-seeded Eastmoor Academy past top-seeded Johnstown in a Division II district championship at New Albany.
Rahina Price scored 12 points and Anee’ Braswell added 11 points for Eastmoor, which improved to 20-6.
Paige Cannon scored 23 points and Natalie Carpenter added eight points for the Johnnies, who finished 23-3.
— Scott Hennen
Centennial 61, Licking Valley 42
The third-seeded Centennial girls basketball team routed fourth-seeded Licking Valley 61-42 in a Division II district final March 1 at Gahanna to capture its first district championship in program history.
Alyssa Dean scored 20 points, Akiya Brown scored 10 points and Izzi Luaces and Marissa Robertson each scored eight points for the Stars, who improved to 18-7 overall and will face Zanesville Maysville in a regional semifinal March 4 at Zanesville.
Centennial took a 25-15 halftime lead, led 36-23 by the end of the third quarter and never let Licking Valley pull within 11 points in the fourth quarter.
"It means a lot to us to finally earn a banner for our school," Brown said. "Our goal was to win this game by 20 points, and we played hard as a team to beat them."
— Aaron Blankenship
Africentric 80, Liberty Union 32
A quick start in the first half helped Africentric capture its 10th consecutive district championship March 1 at Granville.
The top-seeded Nubians led 36-10 by halftime against eighth-seeded Liberty Union in a Division III district final and then outscored the Lions 27-11 during the third quarter.
Ayrielle Stith finished with 19 points and Dayuna Johnson and Alexa Hart both had 11 for Africentric, which improved to 22-3 and will play Bucyrus Wynford in a regional semifinal March 5 at Lexington.
Liberty Union finishes 17-8.
— Jarrod Ulrey
Ready 59, North Union 57
Fourth-seeded Ready avenged a loss earlier this season to second-seeded North Union and won its first Division III district championship since 2007 on March 1 at Worthington Christian Middle School.
Ready, which lost to North Union 50-43 on Jan. 18 as junior forward Lauren Ruth was held scoreless, took a 59-50 lead on a 3-pointer by Ruth with 3 minutes, 10 seconds left in the rematch.
The Knights then hung on for the win to improve to 18-6 and advance to a regional semifinal against Jamestown Greeneview on March 5 at Springfield.
Ruth finished with 22 points and seven rebounds and senior guard Caroline Riewe added 16 points.
Taylor Hoffman had 19 points but Mason Jamison was held to 11 points after scoring 23 in the earlier matchup for North Union, which finishes 18-6.
Ready is 5-4 in district finals in 33 seasons under coach Joe Lang.
— Jarrod Ulrey
Newark Catholic 63, Fairfield Christian 36
Newark Catholic won a third consecutive district championship in dominating fashion March 1 at Whitehall.
The Division IV top-seeded Green Wave led 27-12 by halftime and then outscored fourth-seeded Fairfield Christian 20-11 in the third quarter.
Jill Blacksten finished with 23 points and Ashleigh Parkinson had 22 for the Green Wave, who will play Fairbanks in a regional semifinal at 7 p.m. March 6 at Pickerington North.
Newark Catholic also got 15 points from Ivy Durbin and improved to 24-2.
Leah Custer finished with 17 points to lead Fairfield Christian, which finished at 19-5.
— Jarrod Ulrey
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