Waite defeats Kettering FairmontWritten by Scott Calhoun | | firstname.lastname@example.org
COLUMBUS — Waite High School defeated Kettering Fairmont 61-55 in an Ohio High School Athletic Association Division I girls basketball state semifinal at Value City Arena in Columbus march 19.
Senior Natasha Howard produced 22 points, four rebounds and four blocks to lead the Lady Indians (24-2), but it was her supporting cast who came through with a gritty performance in her absence while sitting out with four fouls.
Waite will meet the winner of the other semifinal between Canton McKinley and Reynoldsburg March 20 back at Value city Arena to decide the DI girls state title at 8:30 p.m.
The Lady Indians stretched out a 29-22 lead in the first half as Howard tallied 11 points and swatted back three Firebirds shots and senior Courtney Jackson drilled three of five treys for nine points.
Fairmont generated a 9-4 run to open the second half and get within 33-31 at 3:50 of the third quarter, but senior Mariah Haynes and Howard combined forces to help Waite stay ahead 41-36.
But Howard picked up her fourth foul with a minute left in the third and had to watch from the bench until May reinserted her with three minutes left in the game. During that stretch the rest of her team nursed the advantage to 54-51.
Sant and Holley Carey kept the Firebirds flying and Fairmont closed to 56-55 with 2:17 left, but Howard scored on an inbound from Jackson (four assists) inside the final minute to seal the victory.
Haynes and Jackson finished with 12 points apiece for Waite.
Fairmont’s Cassie Sant paced the Lady Firebirds with a game-high 25 points.