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Published: Sunday, 3/18/2012

Arlington girls win state championship

ASSOCIATED PRESS

COLUMBUS -- Arlington's first trip to the state tournament started four years ago when Seth Newlove became coach of the Blanchard Valley Conference team from Hancock County and culminated in a championship Saturday.

Newlove and the seniors that grew with him cut the nets in Value City Arena on Saturday after beating Berlin Hiland 52-37 in the Division IV girls basketball title game.

"That's what we've been working for, for a long time," senior Amelia Recker said.

Dani Heaster had 13 points to lead four teammates in double figures as Arlington (27-1) won its 25th in a row and ended Hiland's hopes of winning a fifth state title since 2000. Arlington's only loss came in the third game of the season to Liberty-Benton, 41-39.

The Red Devils' 7-1 run in the final 80 seconds of the first half doomed the Hawks (19-9) as they fell behind 26-10.

"We defended the heck out of them," Newlove said. "That was the key."

Hiland got as close as 12 in the fourth quarter with 3 1/2 minutes to go but Arlington was able to seal the win at the foul line.

"We thought we were the team to apply pressure," Hiland coach Dave Schlabach said. "They were the team that made us feel extremely uncomfortable."

Joy Reamsnyder and Alivia Recker had 11 points, and Amelia Recker added 10.

McKenzie Miller had nine points for Hiland.

DIVISION III

COLumbus AFRICENTRIC 70, ANNA 66

COLUMBUS -- Kiyanna Black brushed off the frenetic atmosphere of the girls Division III championship game, scoring 27 points, including the first four of overtime to give Columbus Africentric the lead for good, as the Nubians defeated unbeaten Anna 70-66.

"A regular day on the court. That's how I treated it," Black said. She also had 12 rebounds and six assists.

"She put it on her shoulders and carried them," Anna coach Jack Billing said.

Africentric (23-4) also won Division IV titles in 2007 and 2009.

Anna (27-1) saw its 50-game winning streak end, although the Rockets put up a fight; rallying from six behind in the final 35 seconds of regulation then cutting an eight-point overtime deficit to 68-66.

Anna's Natalie Billing stole the ball with 30 seconds left in overtime and went for the tying basket, but it was blocked by Jaren Francis. The Nubians ran the clock down, and Ayrielle Stith made two foul shots with 1.8 seconds left for the final points.

"We kept playing," Jack Billing said. "I'm proud of our girls. They never quit."

Natalie Billing, the coach's daughter, had 22 points, and teammate Ashley Frohne added 21.

But Black proved to be the difference.

"She stepped up big time," Africentric coach Will McKinney said.

DIVISION Ii

HATHAWAY BROWN 53,

WEST HOLMES 41

COLUMBUS -- Shaker Heights Hathaway Brown lost its first two title games but since those defeats has gotten the hang of leaving Value City Arena victorious, and Saturday was no exception.

Vanessa Smith had 19 points as the Blazers defeated Millersburg West Holmes, 53-41, in the Division II final for a record-tying fourth-straight title.

"Every year it's kind of unreal," Hathaway Brown junior Nia Marshall said. "It gets better and better."

Hathaway Brown (22-5) tied the mark for consecutive championships held by Cincinnati Mount Notre Dame (2006-09) and South Euclid Regina (2000-03). The Blazers were also runner-ups in 2007 and '08 before starting their title run.

"Six years down here and to win four is a humbling experience for me," Blazers coach Paul Barlow said. "Every year is different because it's a different group of kids."

West Holmes (24-4) was after its first championship since winning three straight from 1984-86 but stalled offensively as Hathaway Brown scored nine straight points to end the first half with a 28-19 lead behind Marshall's nine points.

West Holmes then got to within four, but the Blazers went on a 12-0 run at the end of the third quarter and into the fourth for a 45-29 margin.

West Holmes coach Lisa Patterson rued her team's 15-for-56 (26.8 percent) shooting, caused in part by the taller Blazers.

DIVISION I

TWINSBURG 57,

KETTERING FAIRMONT 51

COLUMBUS -- Twinsburg captured its second straight Division I championship with a victory over Kettering Fairmont, the same team it defeated in the finals last year, 55-42

Ashley Morrissette led the way for the Tigers with 22 points and eight rebounds. The junior was 8 of nine from the free-throw line including 7 of 8 in the last 1:27 of the game.

Malina Howard, an All-Ohio Division I first-team selection, scored 14 points. The 6-4 senior also had nine rebounds.

LaShawna Gatewood had 10 points and 10 rebounds.

Twinsburg (25-3) improved its record to 52-3 over the past two seasons which included the 27-0 record during last year's championship run. They have not lost to an Ohio team in the two seasons.

Fairmont finishes at 23-5. The two finalists met earlier in the regular season with Twinsburg winning 56-49.



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