A rough final quarter offensively ended a breakthrough season for the Africentric Early College boys basketball team March 25 at Ohio State.
The Nubians didn't score during the final 7 minutes, 37 seconds of their Division III state semifinal matchup against Cincinnati Taft and lost 63-50.
The loss gave Africentric a final record of 18-8 and sent Taft into Saturday's state championship game at 4:30 p.m.
"We cut it back to two and then we hit a lull," said coach Michael Bates, whose team won five games last season. "We had a few great looks at the basket but the shots just didn't fall."
The Nubians trailed 21-8 after one quarter before rallying to within 31-23 with 2:12 before halftime. A pair of baskets by Taft's Rasaan Jackson and a three-point play by teammate Orlando Berry gave the Senators a 38-26 lead by halftime.
During the third period, Africentric received contributions from Marquice Taylor (six points), FuQuan Tucker (five points) and Hosie Smith (four points, three rebounds) to cut it to 51-43. Kalomo Figueroa-Jackson then scored on a putback basket and hit a 3-pointer as Africentric closed to within 52-48 heading into the final quarter.
Smith scored what would become the Nubians' final basket to make it 52-50. Figueroa-Jackson and Taylor were among those who struggled down the stretch offensively.
Taft junior Adolphus Washington, a 6-foot-6, 250-pounder who has 18 Division I football scholarship offers, finished with 22 points and four rebounds. He had 10 points in the third quarter and five in the fourth.
Dwayne Stanford added nine rebounds and Jalen Lowe scored 16 points off the bench for the Senators, who improved to 25-1.
Taylor scored 21 points, Tucker added nine points and Figueroa-Jackson finished with eight to lead the Nubians.
Taft outscored Africentric 28-6 off the bench and 26-10 off turnovers.
"We really dug in defensively," Senators coach Mark Mitchell said. "I'm astonished that we held them to two points in the fourth quarter."