By halftime of the City League championship game Feb. 11 at Columbus South, the Africentric Early College girls basketball team had built a 10-point lead over Northland.
Nubians coach Will McKinney believed it could have been an even bigger advantage based on how well his team had controlled the action up to that point.
With a 13-0 run to begin the third quarter, Africentric seized control before cruising to a 74-41 victory that gave the Nubians a ninth City championship in 12 seasons, including their second in a row.
“I felt like we had an opportunity to pull away in the first half, but there were some little things that we didn’t do,” McKinney said. “We missed out on a couple box-out assignments and a couple close-out assignments. We talked (during halftime) about not missing out on the simple things, and then we made some shots.”
Africentric, which went 14-0 in the City-South Division and improved to 19-3 overall, scored the game’s first basket and never trailed.
Northland, which went 14-0 in the City-North and dropped to 18-4 overall, got a 3-pointer from Taylor Pearson with 6 minutes, 2 seconds left in the second quarter that cut the Nubians’ lead to 20-17.
The Vikings never got closer.
Pearson finished with 23 points and 12 rebounds, but only three other Vikings scored. Alexandra Hamilton added 14 points.
“That’s an outstanding team,” Northland coach Bill Spencer said of the Nubians. “I told the girls that they lost to a really good team and I’m proud of their effort.”
Jordan Horston had four points, four rebounds, one steal and one assist during the first four minutes of the third quarter as Africentric’s lead expanded from 31-21 to 44-21.
Horston finished with 16 points and 12 rebounds, and Alexia Smith added 11 points as 11 Nubians scored.
“We all made shots,” Horston said. “We just played fast and played together. We turned it up on defense.”