COLUMBUS, Ohio– Day two of the 42nd annual OHSAA State Tournament featured semifinal battles in the Division III and Division I classifications. Thursday’s action had already set the table for D-II and D-IV and their Saturday title matche-ups. They also set a high bar for Friday’s semifinalists with two buzzer beaters, an overtime contest and frantic fourth quarter rally. All games were decided by single digit margins.
For a quick look back at Thursday’s action from Columbus, follow the link below to our Day One coverage.
In Friday’s Division III semifinal play, Gilmour Academy and Africentric kicked things off followed by Winchester Eastern and Versailles in the first session. The Big Dogs took the stage for the day’s second set of games with the Division I final four teams squaring off. Canton McKinley and Mt. Notre Dame (Cincinnati) were up first followed by Newark and Notre Dame Academy (Toledo). Below are recaps of all the games in the Schottenstein Center on day two.
Blue Star Media will be back courtside for all the OHSAA championship games throughout the day Saturday. Division II kicks things off at 10:45 a.m. with Alter and Hathaway Brown followed by Berlin Hiland and Waterford for D-IV bragging rights. Division III will follow with Gilmour Academy and Versailles while the Division I final featuring Mt. Notre Dame (Cincinnati) and Notre Dame Academy (Toledo) wraps things up in the 8:30 p.m. Vatican Classic nightcap.
In one of the tournaments most anticipated match-ups, Gilmour Academy and Africentric didn’t disappoint with their semifinal showdown. It was a one point game after one period and just a two point margin in favor of Africentric at the break. Gilmour did their best to give it away turning it over 11 times in the half. However, senior Emily Kelley kept them close by way of a 5 for 9 three point effort over the first 16 minutes of play. Gilmour cut it to one in the third and entered the final period trailing 43 – 42. The wheels came off on the Lady Nubians down the stretch as they were outscored 23 – 11 and could only watch as Gilmour claimed a 65 – 54 winning ticket to Saturday’s D-III final.
Normally 22 turnovers will cost you, particularly at the state tournament level. The Lancers recovered a portion of those lost possessions by way of an impressive 11 for 24 team three point showcase. Africentric committed just 12 turnovers of their own but were outrebounded for the game 39 – 31. Gilmour shot 47.7 percent overall and 45.8 from deep. Africentric managed just 31.3 percent as a team on 21 of 67 shooting.
Kelly finished the day with 24 ultimately connecting on 6 of 11 three point attempts. Junior forward Naz Hillmon continues to impress posting a 16 point, 16 rebound double-double. Classmate Emma Gurley added 17 more going 4 for 6 from deep as part of a 6 of 9 effort from the floor. Sophomore Jordan Horston paced the Lady Nubians in the loss with 17 but struggled from the floor making just 8 of 23. Senior Kynnedy Azubike added 10 as did impressive freshman Alexia Smith. Africentric finishes the season 25 and 4.
The run of ultra-close, nip and tuck semifinal games came to an end with the second Division III semifinal. Versailles held a three point edge after one but by half had extended their margin to a double figure 26 – 15 gap. Shooting 52.6 percent from the floor, the Tigers also got a boost from a 4 of 9 showing from behind the arch. Eastern was just 2 for 10 in the second period from the floor and 7 of 20 for the half. Versailles added four more to the margin in the third before a 17 – 8 final period sent the Warriors home on the short end of a 58 – 34 score.
Winchester Eastern didn’t help their cause committing five more turnovers in the contest and worse yet surrendering 11 additional rebounds to Versailles. The Tigers finished 19 for 41 from the floor for 46.3 percent while the Warriors came in at 34.2 percent on a frosty 13 of 38 effort. Versailles also capitalized at the line connecting on 15 of 20 while Eastern was just 5 for 6.
Four players posted double figure points in the win for the Tigers. Junior forward Danielle Winner had 14 points and 7 boards while senior guard Camille Watren had 14 of her own along with a 3 of 5 scorecard from three point range. Junior guard Kami McEldowney and sophomore Elizabeth Ording each added 11 to the cause. The Warriors got 11 from versatile junior forward Allison Day and 10 more from sophomore guard Morgan Reynolds. Winchester Eastern wraps up the season at 26 and 2.
Mt. Notre Dame owns five OHSAA crowns and are on a mission to add to the collection. Canton McKinley has one of their own but neither program has taken home any hardware in over five years. The Lady Cougars of MND punched their ticket to the final emphatically with a 51 – 33 win Friday evening. Trailing by one after the first period, they ran off an 18 – 8 quarter to go into the break holding a 30 – 21 edge. In the third they added six more to the margin and kept the Lady Pups at bay over the final eight minutes for the 18 point win.
While a 38.8 percent shooting effort as a team isn’t usually enough to carry the day, it will do when the opposition can only muster 27.3 percent as Canton McKinley did on their 12 of 44 performance. MND connected on 7 of 19 three pointers while the Lady Pups knocked down 4 of 20. The Cougars won the battle on the boards 37 – 31 and committed 6 turnovers to McKinley’s 7.
Senior Madison Marcum lit things up in the win going 7 for 12 from the floor including 5 of 9 from deep to finish with 19. Junior Abby Voss had a double-double of 12 points and 10 rebounds while senior Maria Pisciotta added 10 points and 9 boards. The Lady Pups were led by junior Chamera Young’s 13 points on 5 of 10 shooting. High profile sophomore Kiersten Bell struggled to get into the flow of things but still managed to produce 11 points despite 4 for 17 shooting. Canton McKinley finishes the year at 23 and 6.
Timing is everything when it comes to comedy and state tournament basketball. Of course, the folks from previously undefeated Newark might not find much humor in the fact that Notre Dame Academy junior post Ariel Cummings chose their semifinal matchup Friday night to produce a career game for the Eagles. Previously averaging 6 points and 5.7 rebounds per outing, her explosion of a 28 point – 14 rebound double-double was instrumental in Notre Dame’s 75 – 59 semifinal win. Newark led by two with 7:15 to go in the first but it was all downhill from there. They trailed by 8 after one, 17 at the half and by 20 entering the fourth period. Winning 28 consecutive games by an average of 31 points per game had Newark in unchartered territory. They took the foul strategy to the extreme in the final quarter but could do no more than narrow the gap to the final 16 point deficit.
Newark was ice cold in the first half (28%) and finished the game 22 of 57 for 38.6 percent as a team. The Eagles capitalized shooting 43.3 percent in the first half and ended the night at 44.8 percent with a 26 for 58 report card from the floor. NDA dominated the boards by 17 doing some serious damage with their 18 offensive rebounds which they converted into 22 points. Newark only turned it over 9 times but couldn’t force more than 13 out of the Eagles with their own defense. The discrepancy at the line (30 attempts for NDA / 14 for Newark) was the result of the less than effective strategy utilized down the stretch.
As mentioned earlier, Cummings was big with her 28 and 14 double-double. She shot 12 for 17 from the floor and threw in 4 blocks on the defensive end as well. Senior point guard Bre Hampton-Bey added a double-double of her own with 11 points and 10 rebounds while dishing out 6 assists. Fellow senior Mariah Copeland added 13 including three long balls. Newark freshman Gabby Stare led the way in the loss with 16 points while shooting 7 for 12 from the floor. Senior point guard Emily Paul finished with 12 points and 5 assists while fellow 2017 Olivia Fox chipped in 9 points and 7 rebounds.