BELLBROOK — While visiting Beavercreek was working to find a way to replace on of the team’s top scorers, host Bellbrook was just trying to hit its targets.
Bellbrook missed. Often.
Beavercreek (9-11) sped up its game, to make up for the loss of the team’s second leading scorer — Jon Alessandro — who is gone for the rest of the season with a shoulder injury. They picked up their defensive intensity, in hopes of creating some quick transition baskets the other way. But the Beavers’ defensive pressure also fouled up the Golden Eagles’ shooting touch.
“We were 14 for 41 (25 percent) from the field. If our guys aren’t going to finish around the rim, we’re not going to win. We got to the rim. We didn’t finish. That’s the story,” Bellbrook coach Donnie Tate said.
Near the rim or far from it, on this night it didn’t matter. Bellbrook (5-14) hit 2 of 13 three-point tries (13 percent).
The Golden Eagles’ scoring leader, Donnie Crouch, continued to lead in that department. The 6-foot-1 junior guard scored a game-high 19 points, but no other Bellbrook teammate scored more than six.
Beavers coach Mark Hess said he’s just trying to find a new way of attacking opponents, now that Alessandro (11.6 points per game) is out of the mix.
“We executed our game plan tonight. We were going to try to play a little faster, and to pressure them defensively, just get up and down the court. We did that early,” Hess said. “That first quarter, we did give up some easy scores, but the pace was faster, and that’s what we wanted.
“Bellbrook is really good defensively at the half court, so we thought maybe we could create some turnovers. And we were able to execute against their zone — to get into the lane and get some shots. We got the early start, grabbed a nice lead, and we were able to keep out in front in the second half.”
Peyton Young had 10 of his team-high 16 points by halftime. Beavercreek was able to spread Bellbrook’s defense a bit by hitting 4 of 5 3-point tries in the half as well. The Beavers were in command, 30-18, at the break.
Cedric Baldwin was the other Beavercreek player to finish in double figures with 13 points.
Tate said Saturday’s nonleague loss shouldn’t be cause for alarm for his Golden Eagles.
“We always talk about hitting small targets. Don’t just throw it up and hope the ball goes in. Small targets. … And if we go up against a crowd, because the defense has rotated against us, we have to realize we can throw to someone else who will be open,” he said.
Bellbrook will host Southwestern Buckeye League foe Camden Preble Shawnee for Tuesday’s Feb. 14 Senior Night contest. That game is set to tip-off at 7:15 p.m. The Golden Eagles are seeded as the No. 18 seed in the Division II boys sectional tournament. They’ll open play at 7 p.m. Feb. 24 against No. 2-seed Dayton Dunbar at Kettering’s Trent Arena.
Beavercreek gets back into Greater Western Ohio Conference, National East divisional action when they will host Centerville at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 14 for its next game. The Beavers were the No. 13 seed in the Division I Dayton sectional. They’ll open tournament play at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 24 against Bellefontaine (11th seed), at Vandalia Butler High School.
You can reach John Bombatch at 937-372-4444, Ext. 2123.