DUBLIN, Ohio -- After missing nine weeks due to COVID-19 postponements by the Columbus City League, Africentric had their first real challenge of the season on the road against one of the hottest teams in Division I in Dublin Coffman.
The Rocks (13-1) used a 26-2 run that spanned the first and second quarters to blow past Africentric (1-1), 63-42.
Coming off Monday’s 121-20 win over West, the Nubians were off to another promising start on Wednesday, trailing the Rocks 16-13 after the first quarter. The Coffman defense was too much to handle in the second, as the Rocks’ ball pressure and ability to get into passing lanes led to quick buckets in transition.
Coffman went on a 26-2 run from the end of the first through the second quarter leading to a 40-17 halftime lead. Sophomore Tessa Grady led the charge in the first half, scoring 16 points for the Rocks and almost out-scoring the Nubians herself.
Africentric came out of halftime strong, mounting a rally to cut the Coffman lead to just 12 points with a little over two minutes left in the third, thanks to great guard play by senior Anyiah Murphy. Coffman struggled to contain the Nubians and were outscored 19 to 12 in the quarter.
Africentric was trying their best to continue their rally but Rocks junior Cassidy Lafler rattled off five-straight in the fourth to put the Coffman lead out of reach for good.
Grady finished with a game-high 26 points followed by Lafler with 14 for the Rocks. The Nubians were led by freshman Kamryn Grant and senior Maliyah Johnson with 11 each, while senior Arianna Smith added 10.
With yet another major win, Dublin Coffman is hot right now as one of the hottest teams in the area. The Rocks have statement wins over great programs like Gahanna Lincoln, Pickerington Central and now Africentric. While a young team with several sophomore and junior contributors, the Rocks play with great chemistry and continuity. Efforts from role players like senior Kenzie Bicking, junior Taylor Covington and junior Tara Flynn loomed large on Wednesday, as Coffman played a near flawless game.
For Africentric, the Nubians were clearly affected by the long layover, as they weren't in the usual shape that they would be in late January. Looking a little worn down in the second quarter, the Nubians battled back and showed great toughness on the road against a very good Division I opponent. The Nubians are also a young squad, but have a great deal of talent to make another run to the Division III state tournament.
Tessa Grady (6’2 F / Dublin Coffman / 2023) - Grady was an unstoppable force for the Rocks tonight. She has started to find her groove in all aspects of the game, as she hit a couple threes, scored it at the rim, handled the ball with poise, defended well and made plays all over the floor. We were impressed with Grady's ability to attack off the bounce, as she had no problem converting against the length and athleticism of Africentric. With a well-rounded and polished offensive skill set, Grady is a really intriguing prospect who is developing at a rapid pace. Grady has a bright future ahead and could very well be the next high-major prospect to develop out of the Coffman system.
Kamryn Grant (5’11 G / Africentric / 2024) - Grant is going to be a star - plain and simple. The freshman is already playing beyond her years. She is consistently in the right place at the right time and willing to step up to the challenge. She has a beautiful shot, handles the ball fairly well and her length and athleticism make her dangerous all over the floor. We were impressed with her confidence, poise and overall feel for the game, as she did not look like what you'd expect a freshman to look like against an elite opponent on the road. Going for a team-high 11 points, Grant has the chance to develop into the next great player in an Africentric program that has produced countless superstars over the years.
Cassidy Lafler (5’11 F / Dublin Coffman / 2022) - Lafler continues to impress the 270 team the further we get into the season. She is an absolute workhorse for this Rocks team and plays her role incredibly well. She is an outstanding rebounder, can score at all levels, and isn't afraid to handle the ball. Lafler has the skills and athleticism to make a big impact for a program at the next level. As she continues to get into her natural form after missing last year with an injury, Lafler will become an even bigger weapon for a Coffman team who has the potential to win a district title and more.
Anyiah Murphy (5’8 G / Africentric / 2021) - Murphy played great basketball for the Nubians on Wednesday. The senior handles the ball well, defends the perimeter consistently, and can score. Murphy helped fuel the third quarter comeback by Africentric by keying in on defense and sparking their 19 point quarter. We like the intensity that Murphy brings on the defensive end, while having a nice handle that helped her get into the lane several times on Wednesday. Murphy has the ability to be a next level player, given the right opportunity.