By Scott Halasz
KETTERING — Beavercreek boys basketball coach Mark Hess had the only possible reaction after viewing the final stats sheet from ‘Creek’s Saturday game against Hilliard Bradley.
He crumbled it up into a ball.
It simply wasn’t worth saving as it told the story of Beavercreek’s 43-25 loss to the Jaguars in the Premier Health Flyin’ to the Hoop basketball showcase event at Trent Arena. The Beavers shot 25 percent from the field — 13.6 percent in the first half — and made just nine shots and had just four points in an 11-minute span from the end of the first quarter until two minutes into the third quarter.
How bad was it?
Junior Jayme Johnson played just the final 1:41 and was Beavercreek’s third-leading scorer with four points.
The Beavers had a plethora of open shots. They just weren’t falling.
“We were short on everything,” Hess said after emerging from the locker room.
The Beavers (6-6) hoisted a season-high 20 shots from 3-point range and made two. The Jaguars sagged in the lane defensively, taking away ‘Creek’s ability to drive and forcing them to settle for jumpers.
“When you take away the driving lanes … you’ve got to hit shots,” Hess said. “To beat a good team, you’ve got to make plays. They’re a good team and we weren’t making plays. Our strength is not outside shooting.”
The 13-1 Jaguars weren’t exactly a picture of accuracy, connecting on just 26 percent of their long heaves, but they made seven and outscored the Beavers 21-6 from behind the line.
Isaiah Speelman and Braden Norris did all the long-range damage. Speelman scored a game-high 20, including four of nine 3-point shooting, and Norris added 11, making three of 11 long tosses.
Norris was hot early as he made a pair of 3-pointers in the first two minutes, helping the Jaguars lead 12-7 after one. Speelman made his first long one early in the second as the Jaguars led 17-7 with 5:38 left, and then Norris made another three on a fast break, giving Bradley a 22-7 lead with 4:05 left in the half.
Jon Alessandro, who led the Beavers with eight points and 11 rebounds, scored Beavercreek’s only points in the second quarter, with 2:44 left as the Beavers trailed 23-9 at halftime. He scored early in the third to cut the score to 23-11, but the Beavers got no closer. Peyton Young (seven points) made one of the Beavercreek 3-pointers, while Ian Whitlow had the other with just over seven minutes left in the game to cut the deficit to 33-19.
Speelman scored on a rebound and then hit back-to-back 3-pointers to essentially end any thoughts of a comeback.
Hess was pleased with his team’s defensive effort. Beavercreek held Norris five points below his average and limited Matt Allocco to just one point, 12 below his season average. And as a team, the Beavers held Bradley to its second-lowest point total this season.
“I think our defensive game plan was pretty good,” Hess said. “We lost Speelman a couple times. Norris got a couple threes early when we didn’t chase. I’m happy with our effort.”
The Beavers host Fairborn at 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, January 17.