KETTERING — Not sure what to quite expect, the visiting Beavercreek Beavers bombed 3-pointers and claimed a 50-39 win over a depleted but gutsy Fairmont Firebird lineup, Jan. 3 at James S. Trent Arena.
In Fairmont’s last game —a convincing 52-26 win over previously undefeated Trotwood-Madison — a brawl took place with four minutes left in the game. As a result, 10 players were ejected from the contest and the game was called.
Eight of those ejected players were from Fairmont.
That bit of mystery, of not quite knowing who his team would play, left Beavercreek coach Ed Zink wary of the Firebirds.
“We weren’t sure who we would face. I knew they were missing a couple (starters), but we weren’t aware of which ones for sure. We knew a couple, but we didn’t know all of them,” Zink said. “We had no idea what we were going up against.”
Adding to the mystery for both teams, the two squads had been off for the Christmas holiday break and hadn’t seen action for almost two weeks.
“We told our kids to be ready to play, because they’ve got as deep of a bench as anybody in the (Greater Western Ohio Conference),” Zink said.
And play they did.
Beavercreek’s Carmen Williams and Cori Dilsavor hit three 3-point shots each, while teammates Bailey Draughn, Taylor Steinbrunner and Michaela Rhoades each hit one. Williams led the Beavers (9-3, 6-0 GWOC National East) with 13 points scored, Dilsavor and Rhoades scored nine each, and Draughn finished with eight in the win.
It wasn’t until Beavercreek went on an 11-2 third-quarter run that the Beavers were able to extend a double-digit lead over the pesky under-manned Firebirds (6-4, 3-2 National East).
Up 27-24 two minutes into the second half, Dilsavor got the key scoring binge going with a 3-pointer from the left wing with 5:50 left to play in the quarter. Draughn then scored and was fouled, but missed the free throw, to put the Beavers out in front by eight points. Draughn later hit the front end of a pair of free throws to put ‘Creek up by nine points, then Williams drained a three from the left corner for the team’s first double-digit lead, 36-24.
Fairmont’s Madison Bartley scored from the right side to pull the Firebirds within 10 points, 36-26, but then Rhoades scored from the left baseline to complete the run and give the Beavers a 38-26 lead with just over three minutes left in the quarter.
Mali Morgan-Elliott’s lay-in to start the final quarter pulled Fairmont within nine points, but that was as close as they got the rest of the way.
Despite the loss to their National East division foes, Fairmont coach Lacy Drake felt pretty good about how her available players held up against a full squad of Beavers.
“We only had six true varsity kids tonight,” Drake said. “There wasn’t a doubt in my mind that we could hang with them. The six kids that we did have, they played phenomenally. Beavercreek shot lights out from three-point range, and that hurt us a little bit.
“That’s a very good team that we almost beat.”
Bartley led all scorers with 20 points.
“Lacy did a great job, and those kids were ready to play,” Zink said.
The eight suspended Firebirds are each serving two-game suspensions, and so they will not be available when Fairmont plays its next game, Wednesday Jan. 10 at home against Lebanon.
Beavercreek, now winners of eight straight and nine of their last 10 games, also returns to action on Jan. 10. They’ll host Northmont for a 7:30 p.m. in the Ed Zink Fieldhouse.
Contact John Bombatch at 937-372-4444, Ext. 2123.