By Scott Halasz
BEAVERCREEK — Mark Hess had a message for the Beavercreek Beavers during their shoot-around early Tuesday.
“We challenged the guys to play with pride,” Hess said.
And about 12 hours later Hess was the one who was proud as the Beavers won for the first time this season, beating Miamisburg 62-44 inside Ed Zink Fieldhouse.
“Our hour shoot-around was an hour practice,” Hess said. “Full contact. We came in today and challenged the guys. (We knew) if they bought into it and executed what we were preaching to them we’d be OK.”
And the Beavers were just fine.
Beavercreek shot the ball well, defended well and took care of the ball (unofficially just 14 turnovers) — things that had been issues all season. The Beavers never trailed and after jumping out to a quick 4-0 lead, the game was tied just once the rest of the way.
Cedric Baldwin scored a season-high 20 points, Jackson Tedder added 13 and Alex Otto 12 as Beavercreek improved to 1-8.
Otto scored all but two of his points in the first half as the Beavers led 30-20 at the break. Miamisburg (3-6) got to within seven points early in the third quarter but Baldwin took over, scoring all but four points in the final 13:42.
“It’s great teammates, man,” Baldwin said. “They’re helping me, giving me open shots, setting good screens for me. Making me look good.”
Following the Miamisburg mini-run, Tedder drained a 3-pointer and then Baldwin scored on a spin in the lane to increase the lead to 37-25 with 5:42 left. With the Beavers up 48-33 to start the fourth quarter, Baldwin scored 10 points on a variety of drives to the hoop in the final eight minutes to put the game away for good.
“He’s been playing a lot better for us recently,” Hess said of Baldwin. “He’s the best guy we have off the bounce.”
The Beavers have some time off before visiting Trotwood-Madison next week. Hess is hoping this game carries over through the rest of the season.
“In athletics confidence is huge,” Hess said. “They guys had to see it to believe it. It feels good. I’m proud of them.”