The top-seeded Africentric girls basketball team won its fifth consecutive Division III district championship and 15th in 17 seasons, rolling past eighth-seeded North Union 71-25 in a district final Feb. 28 at the Greater Columbus Convention Center.
The last time the Nubians lost at the district level was in 2015, when they fell to the Wildcats in a final.
Africentric opened a 16-5 lead with 2 minutes, 50 seconds left in the first quarter on a basket by Alexia Smith and led by double digits the rest of the way. Smith’s basket was part of an 11-0 run that helped the Nubians take a 23-7 lead into the second period.
The Nubians stretched their lead to 48-14 by halftime and 62-17 by the end of the third quarter.
“It means a lot,” Smith said of the district title. “It just shows that all the hard work we’ve put in is working for us. We’re not taking it for granted and pushing it every day.”
Sakima Walker led Africentric with 14 points. Smith scored all 13 of her points in the first half and Nyam Thornton scored 10 of her 12 in the first half as the Nubians improved to 21-4 and advanced to a regional semifinal March 4 at Lexington.
North Union finished 16-9.
“We take all competition seriously and whatever we have to do, we do it,” Thornton said. “As a team, we took (the ball) strong (to the basket) and we’re going to continue to bring it strong for the rest of the season.”
Cardington 44, Worthington Christian 42
With her team trailing second-seeded Cardington by five points in a Division III district final Feb. 28 at the Greater Columbus Convention Center, Worthington Christian’s Meghan Mayotte got a steal with 50 seconds left and teammate Katherine Weakley followed with a 3-pointer 6.4 seconds later.
The Pirates then were called for a half-court violation on their ensuing possession, giving the third-seeded Warriors a chance to tie or take the lead.
With six seconds left, Worthington Christian’s Libby Dalton’s 3-point attempt hit off the rim and the Pirates held on for a 44-42 victory and their first district title.
“We got a good shot,” Warriors coach Jason Dawson said. “Libby Dalton had a wide-open look and I’ll take her shooting that shot anytime. She’s been shooting all season and making shots. That one just didn’t go in, but she had guts to take the shot.”
The Warriors got a 3-pointer from Megan Weakley in the closing seconds of the second quarter and trailed 26-24 at halftime.
Worthington Christian got another 3-pointer from Megan Weakley and a basket by Blessing King to take a 31-26 lead early in the third quarter, but Cardington tied the game at 33 and took leads of 41-36 and 43-37 before the Warriors nearly rallied.
Katherine Weakley had 14 points and Megan Weakley scored 12 for the Warriors, who finished 19-6. Casey Bertke had 15 points as the Pirates improved to 24-1.
“Strategically, I needed to prepare better and get them ready for late-game situations and what we’d run if we had no timeouts,” Dawson said. “I didn’t do the best job at that and that’s definitely my fault. I just feel that I kind of failed the seniors who wanted to win a district championship.”