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Africentric goes back-to-back with OHSAA Division III state championship game win over Ottawa-Glandorf

The Lady Nubians now have nine state championship in program history

DAYTON, Ohio - Not all state championships are won the same. Africentric's girls basketball team can attest to that after the Lady Nubians won their second straight OHSAA Division III state title on Saturday with a 58-47 win over Ottawa-Glandorf.

This one was a little different than last year, however.

In 2023, the Lady Nubians set a record for most points scored in a Division III state championship game with 75, roared out to a 27-13 lead after the first quarter and even as Chippewa made a run, it felt like Africentric was going to be cutting down the nets.

On Saturday, O-G wasn't going to make it easy. The Titans took an early 4-0 lead and even when Africentric went on a run to take a 21-10 lead midway through the second quarter, a 5-0 lead to end the quarter cut the lead to 21-15 at the half.

"I knew we were going to have to play our hardest, play our best," Africentric head coach Janicia Anderson said. "And I prepared the young ladies and myself for doing that."

Africentric never trailed after being down 4-0 and scoring the next nine points, but O-G was able to cut the lead to two twice in the third quarter before the Lady Nubians started to take over.

First, it was Natiah Nelson with a jumper to make it 31-27. Then after an O-G free throw, a Samairah Thompson and-1 put the lead up to five and a 3-pointer by Janiya Bowers made it 37-28.

After a Katie Kaufman layup for the Titans, Shaunie Little made a layup and got fouled, hitting the free throw, and Bowers made a pair of free throws for a 13-3 run and a 42-30 lead.

"Every time we made a mini-run, we didn't get the break," O-G head coach Troy Yant said. "We either ended up with a foul, they made two shots, and then they there's a loose ball and we have to scramble and they end up picking it up and throwing it inside and they get a layup."

O-G scored the next three points, but Africentric made sure not to let the Titans get momentum, holding for the final shot of the quarter and executing when Ashtan Winfrey made a 10-foot floater in the final seconds to give the Lady Nubians a 44-33 advantage after three quarters.

Africentric's Jayona Overby puts her arm around Natiah Nelson after the Lady Nubians won the 2024 OHSAA Division III state championship

Africentric's Jayona Overby puts her arm around Natiah Nelson after the Lady Nubians won the 2024 OHSAA Division III state championship

"I just continued to preach to the young ladies relax and play our game," Anderson said. "And I knew eventually things would start going our way once we did that. And when you have four seniors on the floor, I have an advantage. I know that they're gonna take care of business."

To start the fourth, O-G scored nine of the first 13 points to cut the lead to six before a pair of Thompson layups sandwiched around a Nelson layup pushed the lead back out to 12 with 3:03 left to give the Lady Nubians a comfortable advantage.

Nelson and Thompson led the Lady Nubians with 12 points each, Kamryn Grant and Bowers each scored 10, Little had eight and WInfrey added six. Grant led the way on the boards with 13 rebounds. 

Karsyn Erford led all scorers with 18 points for the Titans.

While the state championships are great - and Africentric now has nine of them - Anderson prides herself on something more and doesn't feel the pressure of needing to win every season.

"I just want these young women to continue to grow and be great," Anderson said. "This is just the game of basketball, a championship just puts the icing on the cake.  Every day being an African American woman leading African American young women to be better, to reach for beyond the stars, that's a win in my book. To send five kids off to college with athletic scholarship, Division One, equipped to stand life, I won regardless, so no pressure."

-- Ryan Isley | | @sbliveoh