Eagles’ defense prevails over Beavercreek
By Scott Halasz Special Correspondent
BELLBROOK — Big plays at key moments.
Bellbrook got them, Beavercreek didn’t and the result was a 40-36 comeback win for the Lady Golden Eagles on Monday.
University of Detroit signee Chea Taylor scored 12 of her 18 points in the second half, all on free throws, and Bellbrook put some serious clamps down on defense and held the Lady Beavers scoreless over the last 3:47 to record the nonleague win on Wee Eagles Night.
“In the games we struggled, we’ve had some inconsistencies with not executing or finding a way to turn (the ball) over,” Bellbrook coach Jason Tincher said. “When it was crunch time (Monday), we made plays.”
That was the exact opposite of what Beavercreek did.
“We got impatient there,” Coach Ed Zink said. “We didn’t play with any composure. It got tight there. We panicked with the ball.”
For a while it didn’t look that that would be an issue. Up 31-29 midway through the fourth quarter, Alexa Low scored on the baseline and then Aubrey Zimmerman drained a 3-pointer to give the Lady Beavers a 36-29 lead with 3:47 left.
That’s when Bellbrook and Taylor went to work. The Lady Golden Eagles put intense pressure on the ball and forced turnovers and bad shots and then on offense fed the ball to the Southwestern Buckeye League’s No. 3 scorer. She went to the free throw line 10 times in the deciding 3:47 and made eight to help Bellbrook complete the comeback. A 53% shooter coming into the game, an aggressive Taylor was ready on Monday.
“When I’m on, I’m on. When I’m off, I’m off,” Taylor said of her free-throw shooting.
Madi Hofacker also came up big for Bellbrook (14-4), grabbing a rebound on one of Taylor’s misses with 1:40 left and scoring a bucket to tie the game at 36-36. A half minute later Taylor made two at the line to give Bellbrook the lead for good.
“I have friends on Beavercreek,” Taylor said. “We’ve been trash talking. I wanted to come out with a win.”
Zimmerman led the Lady Beavers (13-7) with 18 points. It was her second straight 18-point game and it came a day before her 18th birthday. She scored 13 in the first half as the Beavers led 18-17 at the half.
Beavercreek opened the third quarter with an 11-4 run and led 29-21 with three minutes left after a Maddi Shannon 3-pointer. Taylor, who started the third quarter on the bench due to foul trouble, entered with 2:42 left and scored four of Bellbrook’s next five points to cut the Beavercreek lead to 30-26 after three.
The first quarter was a defensive battle, or perhaps an offensive struggle. Zimmerman had eight of Beavercreek’s 10 points while Taylor had six of Bellbrook’s 11. The teams combined for nine turnovers and seven of 19 shooting.
The second quarter didn’t start much better. Each team scored in the first two minutes and neither scored again until Lexie Seger hit a 3-pointer with 4:12 left to give Bellbrook a 17-12 lead.
Zimmerman made a basket and free throw to cut it to 17-15 with about 2:30 left and then a 3-pointer by Rachel Mitchell gave the Beavers the lead with 1:11 left, a lead they took into halftime and held until the final minutes.
Beavercreek hosts Wayne, Wednesday and plays at Centerville, Saturday. Bellbrook plays a makeup against Monroe tonight and travels to Valley View on Thursday and Carroll on Saturday.
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