By John Bombatch
HUBER HEIGHTS — With an errant pass here, a ball out of bounds there, Beavercreek’s Battlin’ Beavers began Wednesday’s Division I second-round sectional tournament game kind of slowly. But once the Beavercreek defense got into gear, the Beavers scoring did as well.
Fourth seeded Beavercreek cruised to a 62-20 win over 13th seeded Troy, at Wayne High School. Beavercreek coach Ed Zink thought his team would win, but added that anything can potentially happen in the postseason.
“Well, we were hoping that we’d play like this. Troy came in with a record under .500 at the tournament pairings draw, so we felt that we had the better players,” Zink said. “Come tournament time, you never know, but I think our kids played a pretty good basketball game tonight.
“I thought we did a nice job defensively, and then after a while we started shooting the ball. All things considered, it was a nice win and we’ll take it.”
A pair of Kayla Shields free throws, combined with Maddi Shannon’s 3-pointer from the right corner and a score by Keaira Youngblood put Beavercreek out in front 7-0 to start the game off. Troy whittled the lead down to 9-3 with just under 10 seconds left to play in the opening quarter, but that’s about when the Beavers appeared to find their offense.
First, Lexi Moore bombed a 3-pointer from the top of the arc as time expired in the quarter, to give Beavercreek a 12-3 lead.
Then, a Michaela Rhoades 3-pointer and Cori Dilsavor’s steal and lay-in to start the second quarter put the Beavers in control, 17-3. Beavercreek outscored Troy, 19-5, in the second quarter for a 31-8 halftime lead.
“We just had too many turnovers on our end, and they shot the ball really well,” Troy coach Nathan Kopp said. “When they made that three at the end of the first quarter, it just kinda snowballed from there. We were never really in the game after that.”
Unofficially, Troy turned the ball over 23 times.
Troy’s seniors accounted for 15 of the team’s 20 points. Sierra Besecker led the way with six points, fellow senior Taylor Stookey finished with five, Maddy Taylor scored three and, despite having to leave the game late due to illness, Kayla Niswonger finished with a point. The Trojans also lose Bailey Dornbusch and Alexis Otstot.
Beavercreek subbed players in quite often, and junior varsity regulars Carmen Williams, Bailey Draughn and Haley Hutchins also saw some playing time. Shields led Beavercreek with 10 points scored, Youngblood, Jaelyn Bean and Moore scored eight points each, while Dilsavor and Rhoades each finished with seven points.
The Beavers may get their first true test of the postseason at 6 p.m. Friday when they’ll take on fifth seeded New Carlisle Tecumseh (21-3) at Troy High School in the Dayton 2 bracket sectional tournament final. The Central Buckeye Conference’s Kenton Division champions are led by senior forward Lindsey Nartker who averages 20.3 points and 7.6 rebounds per game.
“They’re good. They’re very good,” Zink said of Tecumseh. “They get after you and pressure you and trap, they have a nice kid (Nartker) in the middle, and they can shoot the ball well. We’re going to have to play really really well if we want to beat them.”