In the district finals, Cardington wasn’t able to keep up with a powerhouse Africentric program, falling by a 70-30 margin Friday night.
In the Division III district final contest, hosted by Ohio Dominican University, Cardington was able to keep the game close for the opening 4:30. Kyndall Spires scored the team’s first five points to keep them within a 6-5 margin in the early going.
After the Nubians scored four straight points, Sage Brannon then added a basket to make the score 10-7 at the 3:40 mark of the opening period.
However, Africentric was able to hold the Pirates to an Alyson Adams three-pointer over that stretch, while scoring 10 points of their own, to take a 20-10 lead after eight minutes of play.
That momentum continued into the second quarter, as the Nubians scored the first 16 points of the period to open a commanding lead. Paige Clinger hit a three-pointer to stop the bleeding and make the score 36-13 at the 3:11 mark, but Cardington wouldn’t score again in the half and trailed 38-13 at the intermission.
Africentric’s defense gave Cardington issues all game, often preventing them from getting into their offensive sets.
“That’s their strength,” said Pirate coach Jamie Edwards. “When they’re that athletic and quick, you can draw up any play to get the ball in and their speed and athleticism can stop it. That’s an athletic team — they’d probably be one of the better Division I teams.”
After an Africentric three-pointer opened the third quarter, Cardington went on a 10-2 run sparked by five Brannon points to close within a 43-23 margin. Thirteen straight Nubian points boosted their lead to a 33-point margin, though, and a Mikayla Conrad three-pointer could only bring the Pirates within a 56-26 margin entering the fourth.
Africentric then held Cardington to four points over the final eight minutes to close out their win and end Cardington’s season at 22-4. Edwards noted that the experiences of this year should prove beneficial to his young team for future seasons. The Pirates only graduate one senior in Summer Morgan, giving the coach high expectations for the future.
“When we went to the draw, no one wanted to go on top against them (Africentric),” he said. “We thought that we’re young and can use this to build for a regional run. Our goal was to make the district finals for our senior and get these young kids some experience and we made it.”
Both Brannon and Spires scored seven points to lead Cardington.