The Africentric Early College boys basketball team made the necessary defensive plays in the final two minutes to hold off Harvest Prep in a Division III state semifinal March 22 at Ohio State.

After the Nubians took a two-point lead on a foul shot by Tre’ Baumgardner with 1 minute, 58 seconds left, the Warriors missed a pair of shots that would have tied the score.

Then with 4.2 seconds left, Soul Hines’ 3-point attempt for Harvest Prep bounced off the back of the rim and into the hands of Baumgardner as Africentric held on for a 54-52 victory.

The Nubians improved to 22-6 and will face Cincinnati Deer Park (28-0) in the state final at 2 p.m. March 24 at Ohio State.

“We got enough stops down the stretch,” Nubians coach Michael Bates said. “The kids buckled down and made some great defensive plays. I thought we took control of the game in the third quarter and we could have extended the lead, but we didn’t get the shots to fall. But we can count on our defense.”

Baumgardner had 22 points, including 18 in the first half as the Nubians bounced back after falling behind 7-0 to take a 32-28 lead into halftime.

Africentric led 44-38 heading into the fourth quarter, but Harvest Prep tied the score at 52 on a 3-pointer by Hines off an assist from C.J. Anthony with 2:46 remaining.

Anthony went 6-for-12 from the floor and had 20 points, Hines had 13 points and C.J. Penha added 11 points and six rebounds for the Warriors, who finished 28-1.

Africentric also got 13 points and six rebounds from Dorian Holloway and nine points and nine rebounds from Jah Bennett.

The Nubians made just 11 of 22 shots from the free-throw line, while the Warriors made all seven of their foul shots.

Videos

•Africentric holds on to win

•Africentric coach Michael Bates

Harvest Prep coach David Dennis was satisfied with the opportunity his team had on Hines’ 3-point attempt in the closing seconds.

“Soul was hot, so we tried to set a double screen for him,” Dennis said. “From our angle, it looked good.”

julrey@thisweeknews.com

@UlreyThisWeek