Africentric, Anna, Fort Frye and Orrville vie
for the title…What You Need To Know about the D-III state
Ohio HS Girls Basketball State Tournament
Thursday, 1:00 p.m. – Division III: Columbus Africentric (21-5/No. 1 OGBR JJH/No. 6 AP) vs Beverly Fort Frye (25-3/No. 8 OGBR JJH/NR AP)
Thursday, 3:00 p.m. – Division III: Orrville (26-2/No. 4 OGBR JJH/No. 4 AP) vs Anna (24-4/NR JJH/NR AP)
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The Division III ‘final four’ features two match-ups between veteran squads and state tournament novices. In the first semifinal, defending state champion Columbus Africentric (21-5), will square off against state tournament newcomer, Beverly Fort Frye (25-3). Africentric is making its fifth state tournament appearance and is led by head coach William McKinney. McKinney has a starting five who all average more than 10 points per game, led by senior Marley Hill (17.2 ppg), and average a tournament best 82.3 points per game. The Nubians defeated Archbold 60-42 in the regional final. Though making its first state appearance, Fort Frye has certainly proven its worth after defeating Proctorville Fairland (53-47) and Johnstown-Monroe (58-43) in its regional tournament. The Cadets, led by head coach Dan Liedtke, will rely on Taylor Buchanan (12.2 ppg), Deidra Combs (11.3 ppg) and Morgan Liedtke (10.0 ppg) to provide the majority of their offensive output. The other side of the bracket pits Orrville (26-2) against Anna (24-4), the 2012 state runner-up. This will be Orrville’s third state tournament appearance but first since 1993. The Red Riders, coached by Mark Alberts Sr., routed Beachwood 75-48 behind a stellar performance by Maggie Davault (12.0 ppg). Anna, which is making its third-consecutive state tournament appearance and fifth overall, is hoping to bring home its school’s third state title, with the other two titles coming in 2011 and 1981. The Rockets beat Casstown Miami East 62-52 in their regional semifinal bout and then disposed of Middletown Madison 61-42 in the regional final. Anna is led by head coach Jack Billing and senior Natalie Billing (17.0 ppg), sophomore Cayla Bensman (11.9 ppg) and senior Erica Huber (11.3 ppg). – OHSAA
ONG OGBR JJH Ranking: 1
AP Ranking: 6
Of Note: Four of the Nubians five losses are to teams that are in their respective state tournaments (Olentangy Orange, West Holmes, Fairmont and West Virginia Class A No. 1 Huntington St. Joseph’s Catholic). Africentric’s other loss is to Toledo Rogers, which lost in the D-II regional final.
Key Player: Senior C Marley Hill (17 ppgg/7.2 rpg) is headed to Cincinnati.
Fort Frye (25-3)
ONG OGBR JJH Ranking: 8
AP Ranking: NR
Of Note: The Cadets feature two players that have over 1,000-career points in seniors Deidra Combs and Taylor Buchanan.
Key Player: Senior F Deidra Combs was called the “most athletic player” on the team by head coach Dan Liedtke. She surpassed 1,000 points in the district semifinals.
ONG OGBR JJH Ranking: NR
AP Ranking: NR
Of Note: In making their third straight state tournament, the Rockets became the fifth Dayton-area school to do so, joining Beavercreek, Chaminade Julienne, Fairmont, Alter and Versailles.
Key Player: Senior F Natalie Billing is a two-time Shelby County League player of the year and surpassed 1,000-career points as a junior. She’s averaging 17 points and 6.3 rebounds per game.
ONG OGBR JJH Ranking: 4
AP Ranking: 4
Of Note: The Red Riders are riding a 15-game win streak and their only losses this year are to D-II state semifinalist West Holmes (twice). Head coach Mark Albers is heading to his first state tournament after 38 years. He has 545 career wins. Several girls on Orrville’s roster were also part of the Red Riders volleyball team, which made the D-III state semifinals in the fall.
Key Player: Senior G Hannah Plybon is the school’s all-time leading scorer (boy or girl) and is headed to Akron. She has 2,057 career points.