BEAVERCREEK — High school basketball doesn’t get any more exciting than the Greater Western Ohio Conference boys game played at the Ed Zink Fieldhouse in Beavercreek on Friday.
Centerville’s Clayton Schmerber made an uncontested layup as time expired to give the Elks a 44-43 upset win over the Beavers in front of a couple thousand fans on BHS Athletic Hall of Fame night.
The basket was the final drop on what was a roller coaster of emotions for the Beavers, who just seconds before had taken a 43-42 lead on a bucket from Zach Rower. That hoop had followed a key 3-pointer by Centerville’s Mitch Balser with 12.7 seconds left.
After a timeout and a foul, the Beavers had the defense they wanted until the final second, when an apparent hustle play turned out to be an unnecessary one.
“We had one team defensive breakdown on that play,” Coach John Ahrns said. “We rotated a guy that didn’t need to rotate. He was just hustling. We had exactly what we wanted (but) instead of making Centerville score over our best defender ….. we left a guy open.”
But Ahrns stopped short of totally blaming the defeat on that one blunder.
“There were the big possessions we didn’t get (the lead) to two or tie (the score),” he said. “(Then) we couldn’t get a big stop. A couple times we had the ball up one possession and couldn’t get it done.”
Beavercreek (10-2, 3-1 GWOC Central) had trouble getting it done at the free throw line for the second straight game, finishing a frigid three of nine. Jarred Waters, who had a game-high 13 made one, while Airius Moore, who added nine points, made one of the other freebies. Zach Rower, seven points, made the third
“It’s tough as coach because there’s nothing we can do,” Ahrns said.
Austin Recker came off the bench to lead Centerville (9-3, 3-1 GWOC Central) with 11 points while Joey Weingartner added 10. Tyler Grile chipped in seven off the bench.
Seven was the magic number in the first half, as that was the largest lead by either team. And that big of a margin was history by halftime when Centerville, which darted out to a quick 7-0 lead, led just 19-18.
The first half featured 20 combined turnovers and 21 combined missed shots.
Things heated up in the third quarter, which ended 30-30. Tyler Eichhorn was the catalyst, draining a 3-pointer and then making a driving basket. Waters had four points in the quarter to help spark the Beavers.
Centerville had a brief five-point lead in the fourth quarter, but Moore scored off an offensive rebound and made a free throw to cut the score to 37-35 with 5:32 left.
Two minutes later, Rower made a rebound put-back to tie it and then after a Centerville basket, Waters banked in a shot to tie it at 39-all with 1:29 left.
A half minute later, after a Centerville miss, Moore made a driving basket to give the Beavers the lead, setting up the fast and furious finish.
“They just made one more at the end than we did,” Ahrns said.
Beavercreek has a quick turnaround with another tough GWOC Central game on Tuesday against Wayne.
“We do a good job coming back right away,” Ahrns said. “This is a mature group of guys. We know if we want to be league champions that it’s a really important game on Tuesday.”
At halftime on Friday, members of the 2014 BHS Athletic Hall of Fame were announced. The class includes 2003 graduates Alison Bales, who played professional basketball, and Justin Masterson, a pitcher with the Cleveland Indians.