FAIRBORN — His Beavercreek Battlin’ Beavers had just recorded their sixth straight win, but veteran coach Ed Zink wasn’t all too happy about it.
A much improved Fairborn Skyhawks team made Zink’s Beavercreek bunch earn every point in a 47-38 win, Jan. 13 in the Baker Middle School gymnasium.
“Fairborn out-played our butts in this game,” Zink said. “They played harder than our kids did tonight, and they played smarter than our kids did tonight. … We’ve been playing pretty well, but tonight wasn’t one of those nights for us.”
Fairborn (2-12) had trailed 23-19 at the break, but the Skyhawks managed to pull within two points of the lead twice in the second half.
First, Skyhawks sophomore Natalie Oktavec drained a pair of free throws to make the score 38-36 in the Beavers’ favor with 6:03 left in the contest.
Then, a jumper from freshman Nakiah Dunman got the ‘Hawks within 40-38 with just over five minutes to play.
Beavercreek backdoor scores by junior forward Anna Landing, behind Fairborn’s stingy 2-3 zone defense, and free throws from Morgan Rhoades and Maci Rhoades enabled the Beavers (9-5) to close out the game with a 7-0 run for the win.
“We just didn’t play hard until the end,” Zink added. “That was a much closer game than the final score was.”
Fairborn may have endured its seventh straight loss, but Skyhawks coach Brooke Summit knew that her team played very well against a very talented Beavercreek team.
“Coach Zink is an incredible coach. And it’s really cool to see him again, not as a player but as a coach against him,” Summit said. “The game really was closer than the final score tonight … I’m really proud of my girls. We have improved drastically. They all work really hard, for each other and for the team. I couldn’t ask for a better group of girls.”
Junior guard Jodee Austin bombed a trio of threes as part of her team-best 11 points scored for the Skyhawks. Senior guard Khala Powell returned from injury to score 10 points, and Oktavec finished with nine in the loss.
Summit’s Skyhawks go back into Miami Valley League action for their next game, a 7:30 p.m. road contest at Greenville (5-7) on Wednesday, Jan. 15.
Zink will take his Beavercreek bunch to Springboro (10-3), also on Wednesday, in a Greater Western Ohio Conference battle.
“We’ve got to play better on Wednesday. If we play like this against Springboro, they’ll beat us by 40,” Zink said.