Africentric used a smothering pressure defense and superior team speed to outclass Marion Pleasant in the Division III Final.
Columbus – In a game of contrasting halves, the contrasting styles of Columbus Africentric and Marion Pleasant determined the Division III girls basketball title.
Marion Pleasant held serve for most for the first half, buoyed by the athleticism and 9 points of point guard Kamryn Kimmel. They led at the break, 23-19.
But Africentric (24-5), known for its full-court pressure and frenetic style of play under pressure, turned up the heat on the 27-3 Spartans in the third quarter, and sprinted to a 25-10 run that broke down Marion’s composure…and ultimately handed the Nubians their fifth state title, 59-37.
Africentric was quicker, more athletic, and composed on this day, having been to the Final Four seven times in the past nine years.
Marion resorted to second-half three-point casts from outside, trying to erase a 15-point deficit, while Africentric played the fourth quarter making the Spartans chase, commit, and then capitalized on easy back-door buckets.
Africentric shot 37.7% from the floor, led by Kynnedy Azubike (15), Jordan Horston (11), and Leah Morrow (12).
Marion actually shot 42.8% from the floor, a higher percentage, but turned the ball over 36 times. Kamryn Kimmel failed to score in the second half and led them with 9 points. Summer Blevins had 7, Hannah Peltier had 6, and Nicole Verity added 7 off the bench.