BEAVERCREEK — Beavercreek was looking to bounce back with a win in their first game in a week when they hosted Greater Western Ohio Conference opponent Northmont (3-11, 1-5 GWOC) Wednesday night at Beavercreek High School.
After a loss to GWOC rival Centerville, the Battlin’ Beavers were eager to get back on the court. With a dominant post presence and free throws, they were able to defeat the Lady Thunderbolts, 61-48.
“We kinda got waxed last Wednesday by Centerville and the kids came out and had really good practices. They were excited to get back and play,” said Beavercreek coach Ed Zink.
Beavercreek (12-5, 4-2 GWOC Central) started out as the aggressors, attacking the rim and getting to the foul line. They shot eight times from the charity stripe in the first quarter and narrowly led 8-7 after one.
In the second quarter, Beavercreek started moving the ball around more and got some better shots to go in and led 25-17 at half.
“I thought we played pretty well. I don’t think we played great. We had some unforced turnovers early in the game where we threw it away or dribbled it off ourselves. I thought down at the end we handled the ball well and made some free throws when we had to,” said Zink. “We missed some defensive assignments. Give Northmont credit. When they were open, boy the hit their shot. They played much better, much harder than the first time we played them.”
Beavercreek gained a 10-point lead in the third quarter and maintained that difference for almost the entire second half. Whenever it seemed like Northmont was going to go on a roll, the Beavers would work the ball inside and get to the free throw line. Beavercreek shot 32-44 from the line on the night. The Lady Thunderbolts only attempted a combined 13.
“We didn’t want to come down and fire up quick shots,” said Zink. “We wanted to run some time off the clock and be patient because we felt if we handled the ball they were going to have to foul us, and if we have the right kids at the line then we’re going to make the majority of them.”
A lot of the Beavercreek players did the majority of their scoring in the second half. After struggling with foul trouble early, junior forward Natalie Knight finished with 16 points, 14 of which came in the third and fourth quarter. Sophomore forward Kayla Shields had 13 on the night, scoring 10 in the second half. Senior guard Aubrey Zimmerman also added nine points and led the team in rebounds with five.
Both coaches commented about how this was a more competitive matchup than their previous game. Northmont coach Virgil Carter said his team played a lot harder this time around, but that the free throws were hard to overcome.
“They were attacking the rim, I’ll give them that. But that’s not the reason why we lost. We turned the ball over and didn’t rebound,” said Carter. “I saw big improvements. The biggest difference was that we played with energy and passion. The first time we played them we were a little dead. I think our biggest thing was the we played with them, we played with energy.”
Two players scored in double figures for the Thunderbolts. Senior guard Shaeyla Givens had 11 points and junior guard Shelby Stephens had 10.
“When we shoot with confidence, we’re a pretty good team shooting the basketball,” said Carter. “I think we can play with anybody in the GWOC as long as we play with energy and passion. Our record may not show that, but I think we can get out there and play with any of them.”
Beavercreek has another tough challenge when they host Fairmont at 7:30 p.m. next Wednesday, Jan. 29 at Ed Zink Fieldhouse. Northmont returns to action when the take on Fairborn 7:30 p.m. this Saturday at Fairborn Memorial Fieldhouse.