After competing in Division I during the postseason last winter, the Eastmoor Academy girls basketball team dropped to Division II and landed the No. 1 seed for the district tournament.
The Warriors made that accolade stand up March 1 at Westerville Central when they rallied from an early deficit to beat second-seeded Granville 48-40 to capture a district championship.
“It feels good,” coach Charity Martin-King said. “Being (in Division I) last year to being back in what’s a better division for us based on our school size, it’s just hard to compete (in Division I). It feels good to be back (in Division II).”
Eastmoor, which previously won a district title in 2016 when it reached a Division II state semifinal and was a district runner-up in 2017, improved to 19-5 while the Blue Aces finished 20-4.
The Warriors will play Thornville Sheridan in a regional semifinal March 5 at Zanesville.
Granville, which was playing in a district final for the first time since 2003, took a 20-13 lead into halftime. The Warriors, however, opened the second half by scoring the first eight points and led 31-29 after three quarters.
Eastmoor led 42-40 with one minute left before scoring the game’s final six points.
Hailey Jordan had 16 points, including 12 in the second half, to lead the Warriors, with Samaria Rodgers-Gossett adding 13 points and Kahlani Pack scoring eight.
Lanie Hilaman had 16 points to lead Granville.Division III
Africentric 72, Utica 35
The top-seeded Nubians built a 25-point halftime lead and turned its Division III district final against sixth-seeded Utica into a running clock midway through the third quarter March 1 at Ohio Dominican.
It marks the 14th district title in 16 seasons for Africentric, which improved to 24-0 while the Redskins finished 13-12.
The Nubians will play Attica Seneca East or Castalia Margaretta in a regional semifinal March 6 at Lexington.
“It’s always a great feeling winning with the girls,” senior guard Jordan Horston said. “We never take it for granted.”
Africentric built a 22-10 lead in the first quarter as Horston had nine points and Alexia Smith scored eight, and Sakima Walker scored six in the second quarter to help the Warriors increase their advantage to 45-20.
Horston and Smith each finished with 18 points and Walker scored 12. Maliyah Johnson added 11 points, including five in the third period.
Emily Londot, who has committed to play women’s volleyball for Ohio State, had 15 points for Utica.
“The young lady that’s going to play volleyball Ohio State, I wanted to focus on how we were going to play her because (she) is legit,” Warriors coach Will McKinney said. “I thought our bigs defended exceptionally well.”