BOWLING GREEN, Ohio -- The Africentric Nubians (20-6) used great defense and rebounding to dominate the Carey Blue Devils (20-7) in the OHSAA Division III regional semifinal game at the Stroh Center at Bowling Green University on Wednesday evening.
The Nubians, led by head coach Michael Bates, got 21 points from their senior center Jah Bennett and 15 points from point guard Tre Baumgardner to dominate their regional semifinal game and set up a Saturday night showdown against powerful Archbold (22-3).
Africentric had a great offensive start to the game, jumping to a 25-15 first quarter lead behind 11 of Bennett’s game-high 21 points. The Kentucky State-signee had a dunk, a trey and two consecutive three-point plays in the quarter, while Baumgardner added six points on three layups. Carey hung in by hitting 3-of-5 three point attempts in the quarter. Baumgardner totaled five assists, four steals and two rebounds to add to his 15 points in the game.
The Nubians would cool off on offense in the second and third quarters, but would still outscore the Blue Devils 12-6 and 14-5 in the middle quarters, jumping to a 37-21 halftime lead and a 51-26 lead after three quarters.
Carey would only hold the lead for 19 seconds in the entire game after some early hot shooting in the first quarter.
"That was the best team I have ever played in my career," said senior wing Trey Bame of Carey in the postgame news conference. Bame was held to six points by the swarming Nunian defense.
Senior point guard Cody Luzader, who was a four-year starter for Carey, was held to one field goal while scoring nine points to lead the the Blue Devils. The senior point guard was unable to notch an assist against the pressuring defense of the Africentric back-court.
The Nubians had their way inside all night long, outscoring Carey 46-8 in the paint, and outscored them 23-5 off turnovers with great lead passes on the fast break. They had a 13-5 advantage on second chance points and a 12-0 advantage on fast break points. The only battle they lost was bench scoring in which the Carey subs led 15-12.
The Nubians shot 28 of 51 for 54.9% in the game while holding the Blue Devils to 12-37 shooting, and they won the battle of the boards 33-21.
Senior guard James Hodge played a terrific game. In 24 minutes, he contributed eight points on 4 of 5 shooting, had a game-high eight rebounds, while dishing three assists and getting two steals.
Griffin Summit, a 6-foot forward for Carey, was their best player on the night using hustle and tenacious play to score six points and five rebounds.
The Nubians who have slowly improved all season are now playing their best hoops of the season. Their regional final game on Saturday night will tip-off at 7 p.m. at the Stroh Center.
*Correction: An earlier version of this story mentioned the regional final game being scheduled for Friday night, when it will actually be on Saturday night.