The 38th Ohio High School Girls Basketball State Tournament tipped off Thursday at Ohio State’s Schottenstein Center. Here are the vitals for the weekend: Results, Box Scores, Previews, Schedules, Live Broadcasts, Tickets, Brackets and More…It’s all here.
Ohio HS Girls Basketball State Tournament
Thursday, March 14 – D-III Semifinals
Africentric 43, Beverly Fort Frye 40 (Box Score)
Defending state champion Africentric trailed at the end of the first and third quarters and was down 37-36 with four minutes to play before rallying. A layup by Marley Hill gave the Nubians the lead for good. Africentric hit four free throws in the final minute. Fort Frye missed a game-tying 3-pointer with five seconds left. Africentric will go for its fourth state title on Saturday.
Key Player: Africentric senior center Marley Hill, who is headed to Cincinnati, had 11 points and 12 rebounds.
Key Number: Nine. As in second half lead changes, including five in the fourth quarter.
Anna 80, Orrville 59 (Box Score)
Orrville entered allowing 47 points per game but Anna had more than that at halftime. Led by senior Natalie Billing and sophomore Cayla Bensman, the Rockets scored 49 first half points to lead 49-33 at the break. Billing finished with 29 points and 10 rebounds, while Bensman has 26 points, eight rebounds and five assists. Senior Hannah Plybon led Orrville with 28 points.
Key Player: Anna senior guard Erica Huber had eight points, seven rebounds and 10 assists. She covered Plybon and was the Rockets main catalyst in dismantling Orrville’s defensive pressure.
Key Number: Zero. As in 3-pointers attempted by Anna in the game.
DIII Cliff Notes:
*Anna and Africentric will meet in the D-III final for the second straight year. Africentric beat Anna 70-66 in OT in last year’s final.
*Anna is making its third straight appearance in the state tournament (and fifth overall).
*Africentric is making its fifth appearance in the state tournament.
*Orrville is making its third state tournament appearance and first since 1993.
*Fort Frye is making its first state tournament appearance.
Thursday, March 14 – D-II Semifinals
Hathaway Brown 57, Clyde 38 (Box Score)
The Blazers advanced to their OHSAA record seventh straight state final and will look to win their record fifth straight state title. HB has won 35 straight postseason games. The Blazers led 14-7 after the first quarter and 34-21 at halftime. Clyde got as close as 10 in the second half (41-31) but couldn’t get the deficit to single-digits. HB put four players in double-figures, led by senior Nia Marshall’s 14 points. Stephanie Solano, Beth Brzozowski and Vanessa Smith had 11, 10 and 10, respectively. Clyde junior Amanda Cahill had 16 points, nine rebounds and four blocks.
Key Player: HB senior forward Nia Marshall also added a team-high nine rebounds to go with her team-high 14 points. Marshall is headed to Cornell.
Key Number: 35. As in consecutive postseason wins by HB.
West Holmes 69, Chaminade Julienne 44 (Box Score)
The Knights earned a rematch with Hathaway Brown by dominating CJ from the start. WH opened with an 11-2 run and used a 14-0 run to go ahead 27-6 three minutes into the second quarter. CJ shot just 17-of-65 from the floor (3-of-22 from 3) and was out rebounded 58-28.
Key Player: West Holmes junior Laina Snyder set a D-II state tournament record with 19 rebounds. She also had 26 points, four assists and three blocks.
Key Number: One. It was CJ’s first semifinal loss in seven trips to state.
D-II Cliff Notes:
*Hathaway Brown is going for its fifth straight D-II title and looking to play in its seventh straight D-II final
*Clyde is making its second D-II state tournament appearance in three years.
*Chaminade Julienne is in the state tournament for the seventh time but for the first time since 2005.
*West Holmes is also making its seventh state tournament appearance and second straight. The Knights were runner-up last year.
*Hathaway Brown and West Holmes will meet in the D-II state final for the second straight year.
Friday, March 15 – D-IV Semifinals
Berlin Hiland 54, Reedsville Eastern 51 (Box Score)
Newcomer Reedsville Eastern held leads after the first, second and third quarters but couldn’t finish. Hiland, playing in its 13th state tournament, advanced to its ninth final with the narrow win. The Hawks will try to win state title No. 5 Saturday. Eastern out rebounded Hiland 38-27 but couldn’t overcome 20 turnovers. Eastern junior PG Jenna Burdette scored 20 points and had 11 rebounds, but she also committed 14 TOs.
Key Player: Hiland junior guard Regina Hochstetler scored a game-high 24 points. She also had seven rebounds and four steals.
Key Number: 56. As in seconds left when Hiland took its final lead on a Hochstetler layup.
Fort Loramie 49, Ottoville 42 OT (Box Score)
Despite scoring just two first quarter points, Fort Loramie pulled out the dramatic victory to advance to its third state championship game. Loramie trailed 35-28 with 4:21 left in the game but outscored Ottoville 21-7 over the next eight minutes (OT included). Ottoville out rebounded Loramie 39-25 but was hurt when senior post Abby Siefker was sidelined with her fifth foul with 2:01 left in regulation. Ottoville scored three points over the game’s final six minutes (OT included). Senior post Rachel Beining led Ottoville with 18 points, 13 rebounds and four blocks. Siefker, headed to Bowling Green, had nine points and 12 rebounds. Fort Loramie sophomore guard Hallie Benanzer scored 12 points (all 3s) for Loramie.
Key Player: Fort Loramie junior forward Darian Rose didn’t score in the first half and had just five points entering the fourth quarter. She finished with 21. Rose also had five rebounds, five assists and five steals. She was 10-of-13 from the free throw line.
Key Number: 54. As in the total turnovers between the teams. Ottoville had 32 and Loramie had 22.
D-IV Cliff Notes:
*Reedsville Eastern is making its first state tournament appearance.
*Berlin Hiland is making its 13th state tournament appearance and eight in 10 years.
*Ottoville is making its fifth state tournament appearance and first since 2007.
*Fort Loramie is making its seventh state tournament appearance and third in four years.
Friday, March 15 – D-I Semifinals
Twinsburg 73, Olentangy Orange 63 (Box Score)
The Tigers outscored Orange in each of the first three quarters and moved a step closer to their third straight D-I state title. Balanced scoring paved the way. Senior Ashley Morrissette scored 20 points, while senior Brooke Thompson-Smith, junior Baliegh Smith and senior Char-Dell Dunnigan added 19, 15 and 14, respectively. Orange had three players reach double-figures led by senior May Walker’s 20. Seniors Taylor Alger and Kierstynn Myers added 19 and 10. Orange out rebounded Twinsburg 28-26, but had 18 turnovers.
Key Player: Twinsburg senior guard Brooke Thompson-Smith scored 19 points and had five assists, four rebounds and four steals.
Key Number: Zero. As in the losses Twinsburg has this season.
Fairmont 37, Toledo Notre Dame 31 (Box Score)
Trailing 26-25 in the fourth quarter, Fairmont went on a 9-0 run to take command and punch its ticket to a third straight D-I championship game. The Firebirds, who trailed 19-16 at halftime, held Notre Dame to 12 second half points, including four in the third quarter. Junior forward Kathryn Westbeld led Fairmont with 11 points, while senior guard Chelsea Welch added 10 points – all in the second half. Jayda Worthy led Notre Dame with 15 points.
Key Player: Fairmont junior forward Kathryn Westbeld added a game-high 10 rebounds to her 11 points. She also had three steals.
Key Number: Two. As in bench points scored between the teams combined.
D-I Cliff Notes:
*Twinsburg is going for its third straight D-I state title.
*Fairmont is in the its fourth straight D-I state tournament.
*Twinsburg and Fairmont could meet in the D-I state final for the third year in a row.
*Toledo Notre Dame and Fairmont are facing each other for the second straight season in the D-I semifinals
*Olentangy Orange is making it’s first satte tournament appearance.
Saturday, March 16 – Finals
10:45 a.m. – Division III: Columbus Africentric (21-5/No. 1 OGBR JJH/No. 6 AP) vs Anna (24-4/NR JJH/NR AP)
Anna 67, Africentric 49 (Box Score)
In head coach Jack Billing’s last game (he told the team in the locker room beforehand), the Rockets extracted revenge for last year’s OT state final loss by beating Africentric in the rematch. The Nubians lone lead was 2-0. Anna, which led 14-10 after the first quarter and 33-20 at halftime, hit 16 straight free throws during a third and fourth quarter stretch that increased its lead from 37-28 to 67-47. Sophomore Cayla Bensman led Anna with 21 points, while seniors Natalie Billing and Erica Huber added 17 and 15, respectively. Africentric stayed alive thanks to offensive rebounding (21) and Cincinnati recruit Marley Hill who had 19 points, 13 rebounds and eight blocks.
Key Player: Anna senior guard Erica Huber played a lot larger than her listed 5-5. She had 15 points, nine rebounds and six assists. Huber hit 13-of-18 free throws and was a big reason four Africentric players fouled out (trying to defend her in the backcourt).
Key Number: Three. As in Dayton-area programs with three girls basketball state titles. The others? Beavercreek and Chaminade Julienne.
2:00 p.m. – Division II: Shaker Heights Hathaway Brown (20-6/No. 3 OGBR JJH/No. 7 AP) vs Millersburg West Holmes (27-1/No. 1 OGBR JJH/No. 3 AP)
Hathaway Brown 56, West Holmes 44 (Box Score)
The Blazers made history – again – by winning their fifth straight state title. Cincinnati Mount Notre Dame and South Euclid Regina had previously been tied with HB with four straight championships. The Blazers never trailed in beating West Holmes for the second straight season in the state final. HB capitalized at the line where it hit 20-of-34 free throws. West Homes was 4-of-6 from the foul line. Seniors Nia Marshall and Vanessa Smith led HB with 17 and 11 points, respectively. The Blazers also had three other players score 8-9 points. Senior Rachelle Morrison led WH with 13 points.
Key Player: HB senior Nia Marshall not only led her team in scoring (17 points), she also grabbed a D-II championship game record 18 rebounds.
Key Number: Seven. As in seven straight state finals appearances for HB.
5:15 p.m. – Division IV: Berlin Hiland (25-3/No. 1 OGBR JJH/No. 2 AP) vs Fort Loramie (25-3/No. 3 OGBR JJH/No. 7 AP)
Fort Loramie 57, Berlin Hiland 42 (Box Score)
In a game featuring schools with a combined 20 state tournament appearances and 12 title games, Fort Loramie won its first state championship. The Redskins took the lead for good 8-7 on senior Reggi Brandewie’s first quarter basket, but continually had to fend off Hiland charges. The Hawks drew to within 43-40 wit 4:04 left, but Loramie responded with a game-ending 14-2 run. The Redskins made 15-of-17 free throws and won the battle not he boards (32-30).
Key Player: Fort Loramie junior Darian Rose scored 14 of her game-high 19 points in the second half. She was 8-of-8 front he free throw line in the fourth quarter and added five assists, five rebounds and two steals.
Key Number: One. As in Loramie’s first state title (in three championship games).
8:30 p.m. – Division I: Twinsburg (28-0/No. 1 OGBR JJH/No. 1 AP) vs Kettering Fairmont (25-1/No. 2 OGBR JJH/No. 2 AP)
Fairmont 52, Twinsburg 48 (Box Score)
The Firebirds and Tigers met for a state record third straight season in the state championship. Fairmont, however, came out on top this time. Playing in their fourth straight state tournament, the Firebirds won their first state title by snapping a three-game skid against Twinsburg (including the last two state finals). Junior post Mykala Waterman scored a season-high 24 points (17 in the second half) and classmate Kathryn Westbeld added 13 points and 12 rebounds. The Firebirds staved off a heroic last minute attempt by Ms. Basketball Ashley Morrissette, who scored 11 points in the final 1:20. Waterman hit a free throw with six seconds left to secure the win.
Key Player: Fairmont junior forward Mykala Waterman hit 10-of-11 free throw attempts en route to a season-high 24 points.
Key Number: One. As in bench minutes played by Fairmont. Alyssa Clemente spelled Danie Shafer for 60 seconds.
Final National Guard OGBR JJHuddle Girls Basketball Rankings
There are two main state polls in Ohio: The Associated Press Poll and the National Guard Ohio Girls Basketball Report JJHuddle Poll. So…what poll produced the most correct state semifinailists? The winner was the OGBR JJHuddle Poll, which had 13 of 16 state semifinalists ranked in its final state polls. The AP had 11.
State Tourney Preview
Division-by-Division look at the teams, players and programs.
To all 12 state tournament games right here on JJHuddle.com. (CLICK HERE)
Packages and Individual Tickets still available. (ORDER HERE)
Complete statewide brackets. (CLICK HERE)
National Guard JJHuddle Ohio Player & Team of the Year Awards
College Recruits Playing in State Tourney
Taylor Alger, Olentangy Orange, Indiana
Deidra Combs, Fort Frye, Fairmont State (WV)
Chardell Dunnigan, Twinsburg, George Mason
Marley Hill, Africentric, Cincinnati
Erica Huber, Anna, Ursuline College
Nia Marshall, Hathaway Brown, Cornell
Ashley Morrisette, Twinsburg, Purdue
Natalie Nickol, Berlin Hiland, Ursuline College
Hannah Plybon, Orrville, Akron
Stephanie Poland, Hathaway Brown, Colgate
Abby Siefker, Ottoville, Bowling Green
Vanessa Smith, Hathaway Brown, Princeton
Brooke Thompson-Smith, Twinsburg, Cleveland State
Chelsea Welch, Fairmont, Duquesne
Krista White, Chaminade Julienne, Kent State
Jenna Burdette, Reedsville Eastern, Dayton
Amanda Cahill, Clyde, Indiana
*There are 27 underclassmen who are legit NCAA D-I prospects competing in this year’s Final Four(s).