TROY — It took about eight minutes for the Beavercreek Lady Beavers to beat Trenton Edgewood in a Division-I sectional basketball tournament game on Saturday. That’s all time fifth-seeded Beavercreek needed to build a comfortable lead and roll to a 56-41 win at Troy High School.
Don’t let the 15-point margin fool you. The Lady Beavers (15-8) led by 20 or more points most of the second half until the Lady Cougars (7-16) scored a bunch during late fourth-quarter garbage time. Beavercreek now moves on to play fourth-seeded Lebanon here Tuesday night. The Lady Warriors caught most of the game and have to be concerned with what they saw.
It was arguably one of the best team games Beavercreek has played this season at both ends of the court. The Lady Beavers had balance on offense and wreaked havoc with a full-court press and aggressive defense, forcing 20 turnovers. They limited fast-break opportunities, fought for loose balls and always seemed to make the extra pass to find an open shooter.
“They couldn’t really handle Natalie (Knight) and Kayla (Shields) in the middle,” said guard Maddi Shannon. “They just kicked it back out and we got open shots.”
Shannon was one of the recipients of the generous passing. She and Knight were a formidable one-two punch for Beavercreek. Knight muscled her way to a team-high 13 points, playing her best game since returning from a concussion, while Shannon drove to the hoop and hit from outside to the tune of 11 points. Shields and Jaelyn Bean each added eight points.
“We had a week to get ready,” Coach Ed Zink said. “I thought the kids played hard. We pushed the ball. They did a really nice job of moving the basketball and finding the open person.”
But he saved his biggest praise for the defense, especially senior guard Aubrey Zimmerman.
“We got some steals,” Zink said. “I thought Aubrey did a nice job on the (Brittany) Marts girl.”
Marts entered the game averaging 13.3 points a game and scored just nine, six in the first two minutes before Zimmerman locked her down. The Lady Beavers also did a nice job on Haley Rutherford, who scored 13 of her game-high 20 in the aforementioned fourth-quarter scrap time.
Up 17-9 after one, Beavercreek got the lead to double digits after a Shannon 3-pointer with 5:06 left in the half. After a turnover, a Knight jumper made it a 12-point game and the Lady Beavers rolled.
Beavercreek won’t have quite as long to prepare for Lebanon, but the Lady Beavers should have no problem getting ready for the Lady Warriors, who ended ‘Creek’s tournament run last season.
“They’re pretty darn good, but we owe them maybe a little bit,” Zink said. “Confidence-wise this has got to help.”
Shannon offered her key to victory: “Play as hard as we did today,” she said.