BEAVERCREEK — Beavercreek basketball coach John Ahrns isn’t ready to compare his team to the great Beavercreek teams of the late 1990s and early 2000’s.
Not yet at least.
But if the Beavers continue to play the way they did in last night’s 65-52 win over a spunky Fairmont team, the comparisons may be coming soon.
“We’re not as well coached,” Ahrns joked after the Greater Western Ohio Conference Central Division win. “We have a long way to go. (But) we can shoot, we can defend, we can go small, we can go big. We have athletes Beavercreek has never had.”
And like teams of the past, the Beavers are doing it with defense. Playing their stingy zone with a splash of man-to-man, the Beavers held the Firebirds well below their average of 65 points per game, forcing 22 turnovers and limiting them to 29.5% shooting from inside the 3-point line.
“They missed some shots,” Ahrns said. “We brought the pressure up a little bit. In the second half, we decided to go man-to-man and did OK.”
The Beavers, 7-0 for the first time in a decade, did OK on offense too. Senior Airius Moore led the attack with 22 points while Tyler Reasoner added 12 points and six rebounds. Zach Rower chipped in 10 points and five rebounds.
Rower, a 6-foot-9 center, had eight of his points in the first half and allowed the Beavers (2-0 GWOC Central) to hang with the upstart Firebirds, who nailed six of 12 from 3-point land in taking a 26-25 halftime lead. But the Beavers upped the defensive pressure in the third quarter and limited Fairmont (3-3, 0-2 GWOC Central) to seven points on 2-of-11 shooting.
“That was the big difference,” Ahrns said. “It sped them up and it sped us up. Sometimes we play better fast, too.”
The speedy defensive effort carried over to offense as Moore and Reasoner took over with an inside-out game sparking the Beavers to a 23-point quarter.
Reasoner, a 6-foot-4 bulldozer in the lane, scored on back-to-back buckets late in the third and then Moore nailed a pair of 3-pointers, including one from The Mall at Fairfield Commons as time expired to give the Beavers a 48-33 lead. He then drained six free throws in the final quarter to help the Beavers stay undefeated.
“The practice just paid off,” the 6-foot-1 powder keg said. “I work on shooting all the time.”
And the shot at the end of the quarter?
“I practice those shots a lot,” he said.
Moore is also the top free-throw shooter, missing just one against Fairmont. The miss came on free throws awarded due to a technical foul on a Fairmont player on an inbound play midway through the third. The free throws gave the Beavers a 32-30 lead and they finished the quarter with a 16-3 run.
Sub Alec Stein made three free throws during the third-quarter run and finished with four points, and Tyler Eichhorn, another member of Beavercreek’s bench mob, scored four in the second half to help the effort.
“I can’t speak enough for Stein and Eichhorn,” Ahrns said.
Kei’Vante Tanner led the Firebirds with 19 points and nine rebounds.