BEAVERCREEK — The Beavercreek Beavers had everything they wanted in the final seconds of overtime against Wayne on Tuesday night.
“We had our best player, our leader, in a spot to win the game, twice,” Coach John Ahrns said. “The ball just didn’t go in.”
That best player is senior Airius Moore, who had a pair of would-be game winners inside the paint come up just short in the final seconds as the Beavers suffered another heartbreaking Greater Western Ohio Conference home loss, this time to Wayne, 48-47.
Unlike the Centerville loss last Friday, it was the Beavers (10-3, 3-2 GWOC Central) who had the final chance. But as was the case most of the night, the shots, many good ones, would simply not go in. Beavercreek made just 3 of 18 3-pointers and 14 of 49 overall while making 16 of 23 from the line, missing the front end of one-and-one chances twice in the fourth quarter.
“Our two guys that we count on to hit outside shots did hit outside shots,” Ahrns said. “I thought we missed good shots at times tonight. It’s tough to go inside because of their length and their shot-blocking ability.”
That the game even got to overtime is a win for the Beavers. They trailed 42-37 with 58.8 seconds left but clawed their way back into it.
Jarred Waters drained a 3-pointer from the corner to cut it to 42-40 with 39.6 ticks left. Following a turnover by each time and a Wayne free throw, Beavercreek had the ball out of bounds, down three with 3.2 seconds left.
Then everyone in the Ed Zink Fieldhouse had a flashback to the Christian Laettner miracle shot against Kentucky in the 1992 NCAA Tournament.
Tyler Reasoner, playing the part of Duke’s Grant Hill, threw a perfect inbounds pass to Waters at the other end of the court who turned and banked a 3-point shot from the elbow with less than a second left to tie the game at the end of regulation, sending the student section into a frenzy.
“We had a couple different things drawn up,” Ahrns said. “Jarred was the primary target on that. He did a great job of elevating over a big guy.”
In the overtime Zach Rower gave the Beavers a 46-43 lead off a free throw and a rebound bucket. But Wayne’s Ahmad Wagner made a basket and then Xeyrius Williams sank a corner 3-pointer with 44 seconds for a 48-46 lead.
Moore made one of two from the line with 33.3 seconds left and then D’Mitrik Trice missed a pair from the line setting up the final sequence.
Waters finished with a team-high 14 points and grabbed seven rebounds. Moore added 13 points and seven rebounds and Rower 10 points and 12 boards. Williams had 16 points and eight rebounds for Wayne (10-2, 4-1 GWOC Central).
The first half featured a pair of scoring runs and a pair of extended scoring droughts.
Wayne jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead but went six minutes without scoring as Beavercreek forced half a dozen turnovers leading to a 14-2 run and ultimately a 16-10 lead with six minutes left in the first half.
Then the teams played a game of role reversal. Creek turned the ball over seven times the rest of the second quarter and didn’t score in the final six minutes as Wayne went on a 6-0 run to tie it at 16-all at halftime.
Wayne built a 25-19 lead midway through the third, but Beavercreek tied it with 30 seconds left after two free throws each from Reasoner and Moore. A Demond Parker 3-pointer at the buzzer gave Wayne a 33-30 lead after three.
Beavercreek is at Northmont Friday and then plays in the Flyin’ to the Hoop against University from Illinois Monday at Trent Arena in Kettering. But before that some practice shots will be taken. And plenty of them.
“They asked me if I’ll open the gym for them (at 6 a.m. Wednesday),” Ahrns said. “It’s a good sign they want to come in.”
After the two non-league games coming up, the Beavers close with four of the final seven being division games.
We’re down a game but if we can handle our business, we get at least a share (of the league title),” Ahrns said.