Girls Basketball

Africentric returns to state for third straight year

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The Africentric Early College girls basketball team is back in familiar territory after beating Archbold 57-42 in a Division III regional championship game March 8 at Lexington.

For the third consecutive season and sixth time in program history, the Nubians are in the state tournament.

Africentric, which won state titles in 2007, ’09 and ’12, plays Smithville in a state semifinal at 1 p.m. March 14 at Ohio State. The state final is 5:15 p.m. March 15 at the same site.

In the win over Archbold, the Nubians led 36-27 heading into the final period and outscored the Blue Streaks 21-15 in the fourth.

Africentric is 24-3 and Archbold finished with the same record.

“It was just our pressure defense,” coach Will McKinney said. “We did a good job of holding the ball after we went up by about eight. They were a good team and actually started the game out on a 7-0 run.”

Alexis Parks made two 3-pointers and finished with 17 points, Alexa Hart had 12 points, eight rebounds and five blocked shots and Sierra Harley added 11 points in the regional final win.

Africentric beat Smithville 57-37 in a 2012 state semifinal and edged Anna 70-66 in overtime for the state title that season. Last year, the Nubians lost to Anna 67-49 in the state final.

Reedsville Eastern 62, Newark Catholic 52

For the second consecutive season, Newark Catholic lost in a Division IV regional championship game to Reedsville Eastern.

On March 8 at Pickerington North, the Green Wave couldn’t overcome a 37-point performance by the Eagles’ Jenna Burdette and lost 62-52.

Eastern improves to 25-1 while Newark Catholic finishes 25-3

Jill Blacksten had 24 points and 17 rebounds for Newark Catholic, which lost to Eastern 57-56 in a regional final a year ago.

Eastern closed the regular season ranked No. 1 in the state poll while Newark Catholic was second.

Newark Catholic’s Ashleigh Parkinson picked up her third foul in the first quarter and was held to 11 points.

“I know what type of team I have, and we got beat by six seniors,” coach Rob Smith said. “We knew this game was going to be exactly like it was, and give credit to them for playing better than us.”

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