TROY — The Beavercreek High School girls varsity basketball team should maybe add a line to their warm-up T-shirts.
The bright-orange shirts read “Play Hard. Play Smart. Play Together,” but Play(ing) Defense probably was what set up the Beavers for a convincing 55-16 win over Butler, Feb. 16, in the opening round of the Division I sectional tournament at Troy High School.
Fourth seeded Beavercreek (14-9) caused seven Butler turnovers in the first quarter. Not so consequently, the Beavers had a 14-0 lead after eight minutes of play. The Beavers were out in front 25-2 by the time the Aviators scored their fourth point of the game, just 23.4 seconds before the half.
Alyssa Hargrave-Hall and Taylor Steinbrunner each knocked in 14 points, Anna Landing scored 10, Cecilia Scott finished with seven points, while Kristen Williams (four), Maci Rhoades (four) and Morgan Rhoades (two) combined for the other 10 Beavercreek points in Saturday’s afternoon win.
Beavers coach Ed Zink was understandably happy with his team’s tournament debut.
“I thought they really played well, especially defensively,” Zink said. “We missed what I thought were some really easy shots, but defensively I thought we did a great job. I thought the kids came ready to play, and I think they did a real nice job.
“Butler’s got a nice team. Their record is about the same as our’s. We expected a good game, but offensively they didn’t have some shots fall for them. I know we played well on defense, but I don’t think they shot it real well, either.”
To the Aviators’ credit, they only had seven more turnovers from the second quarter on.
Butler finishes the year at 13-10. They had averaged 45.3 points per game during the regular season, while yielding just 37 per contest. Aves coach Molly Bardonaro said team records didn’t tell the story between the two.
“Yeah, we knew that our records were the same, but we also knew that their schedule is so much harder. I’m not taking anything away from our section of the GWOC, because there are some darn good teams in the American Conference as well,” she said, “But they just all-around have a tougher schedule. Bigger schools see stronger competition all year round. I knew we were the underdogs.
“I thought it could be a 10-15 point game. Never in my dreams would I have thought it would be what it was today. We got shots, we got looks, but we couldn’t hit anything. I don’t think we were 100 percent sure we wanted to shoot the ball. … they just weren’t as confident today as I know they can be.”
Caitlyn Plummer led Butler with eight points scored. The team loses three seniors — Abbie Schoenherr, Tyree Fletcher, and Rachel Burton.
Beavercreek will take on Northmont at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 19 in the second round of the D-I sectional tournament, at Troy High School. The Beavers defeated the ninth-seeded Thunderbolts by a 51-40 score up in Clayton back on Jan. 9.
Contact John Bombatch at 937-372-4444, Ext. 2123.