BELLBROOK — Area coaches Donnie Tate of Bellbrook and Mark Hess of Beavercreek were looking for a good non-league battle that would test their teams’ mettle, before the postseason tournaments come up in a couple weeks.
Hess needed a good road contest against a fiesty opponent with a tough crowd.
Tate wanted to face a big-school opponent, in hopes of toughening his youthful team up.
Both found what they were looking for, as Beavercreek rallied to a 55-39 win, Feb. 9 at Bellbrook High School.
Beavercreek’s Hess said things didn’t quite go according to plan, however.
“Our emphasis was for us to start out fast. And, uh, we didn’t really follow that emphasis,” Hess said with a smile. “Our first group came out and was a little bit flat, but the second group came in and did a really good job.”
With an inside bucket from T.J. Nagy, two scores from Kevin Urbaniak, and a rebound putback from Hayden Greene, Bellbrook (5-15) grabbed a 12-4 lead in the first quarter. Beavercreek chipped away at that lead to pull within 11-14 after eight minutes of play, however.
An inside score from Mali Harris-Strayhorn at the 6:26 mark of the second quarter provided the Beavers (6-13) with their first lead of the game, 15-14. Bellbrook freshman guard Ryan Chew buried a 3-pointer from the right side with five minutes left in the first half to notch things up at 17-all, but the Golden Eagles never got another lead. Beavercreek closed out the first half with an 11-4 run to take control of the game.
Despite not scoring a point in the second half, Beavercreek junior guard Chris Herbort led the Beavers with 13 points. Junior Yousef Saleh and seniors Brandon Zink and Brentin Seman each finished with eight points, and Harris-Strayhorn added seven.
“We played pretty hard at the start, but we don’t have a really deep bench,” Bellbrook’s Tate admitted. “We start two freshmen, and the long season is wearing on them, I think, mentally and physically. I thought we played really well, but we got tired. And without a deep bench, that’ll happen.”
Tate said he appreciates when Division I schools are willing to come and play his D-II squad.
“For us, it’s good. We played Miamisburg as well this season. Last season, we played Xenia, and that was a great game for us. … Any time a Division I team wants to play us, it’s about the journey of the regular season and getting better as a team. And those kinds of games help.”
Tate said Bellbrook has Kettering Fairmont, another talented D-I school, on the regular season schedule next season.
On this night, Golden Eagles freshman Ryan Chew and senior T.J. Nagy both scored nine points, and junior guard Evan Lakins scored seven, to lead Bellbrook, who returns to Southwestern Buckeye League play with a 7:15 p.m. crossover game with Preble Shawnee on Tuesday, Feb. 12 in the Bellbrook High School gym. The Golden Eagles will then close out the regular season schedule with yet another home contest, at 7:15 p.m. Friday, Feb. 15 against SWBL Southwestern division foe Monroe.
Beavercreek also wraps up its regular season slate at home. In a trio of 7:30 p.m. contests, the Beavers host Centerville on Tuesday, Feb. 12, then Fairmont on Friday, Feb. 15 before taking on Little Miami for a nonleague contest on Saturday, Feb. 16.
Contact John Bombatch at 937-372-4444, Ext. 2123.