BEAVERCREEK — If ever there was a time for a coach to be pleased with a loss, it came Nov. 27 at Beavercreek High School.
Coming off a 54-28 clunker to Lakota West the night before — a rematch of a district final from last season — the Beavers turned in a much more palatable effort against McAuley, another Cincinnati power, in a 53-45 home loss.
“I’ve got to give the kids credit,” Coach Ed Zink said. “After taking a butt-kicking last night, they came back. They lost to a good basketball team and they knew they were in a game.”
For a while they weren’t in a game.
The Beavers jumped out to a 5-0 lead, but then trailed by as many as 15 twice in the second half before whittling the lead down to five midway through the fourth quarter. Beavercreek stayed within striking distance, but could never get that one defensive stop and McAuley clinched the game with four free throws in the final 36 seconds.
Zink lamented the first few minutes of the game when the Beavers could have had a bigger lead after McAuley turned the ball over several times and missed myriad shots. But Beavercreek missed several layups early — an issue lingering for a couple seasons — and finished with 17 close misses.
“You take the start of the game, it should have been 12-0,” Zink said. “We get five or six stops, but we can’t score. We just are having trouble scoring. (But) I give the kids credit. They busted their tails getting back in it.”
Cori Dilsavor led Beavercreek with 20 points including four 3-pointers, while Bailey Draughn and Carmen Williams each had 11. Draughn scored the five quick points to start the game and Dilsavor led the second-half comeback with 12 after halftime. McAuley’s Hallie Heidemann led all scorers with 22 points including five 3-pointers. She scored nine early to give the Mohawks a 17-9 lead after one quarter, and then a 3-pointer by Isabelle Dorr sparked an 11-0 second-quarter run to give McAuley a 28-12 lead.
Dilsavor scored five straight and then Lexi Moore and Draughn each made a free throw at the end of the second quarter to make it a 29-19 game at halftime.
Heidemann scored the first five points of the second half to give McAuley a 34-19 lead and after the Beavers chipped away, Alex Smith made a 3-pointer to help the Mohawks lead 42-29 after three quarters. Williams made two free throws to start the fourth and then nailed a 3-pointer two minutes later to make it a 44-36 game. After a timeout and a defensive stop, Dilsavor swished a 3-pointer to make it 44-39 with 5:08 left. Smith made a basket 15 seconds later and then a Draughn layup again made it a five-point game. But the Beavers would get no closer.
Starting out 0-2 is not ideal, but Zink knew what he was getting into by scheduling the first two opponents and defending Division-I state champ Mount Notre Dame, Saturday. And he’s hoping the rough patch early will lead to success in the postseason.
“I sure hope it does because if not, (I’m) an idiot for playing them,” Zink said. “You’ve got to learn from this. You try to get better, you try to get tougher physically, you try to get tougher mentally. That’s what we’ve got to do.”
The Beavers host Xenia, at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday Nov. 29 before visiting the defending champs.