FAIRBORN — As the fourth quarter wound down inside Baker Middle School, Jan. 25, the only unresolved issues were if Beavercreek’s Yousef Saleh would record a triple double and if teammate Adam Duvall would match or surpass a career high.
The answers: Yes and almost.
Otherwise the boys basketball game between Beavercreek and Fairborn was never in doubt as the Beavers led from start to finish in an 80-50 win.
Saleh and Duvall led the balanced Beaver attack, which featured four players in double figures. With 12 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists, Saleh notched the first triple double by a Beavercreek player in years, and there is doubt if anyone ever recorded one previously.
“I didn’t know, at first,” Saleh said. “I think it was the beginning of the fourth quarter. Coach came up to me and said I need three more assists. It feels good to get the triple double and get the win at the same time.”
Duvall scored 23 points and grabbed seven rebounds to go with three assists and two steals. He was two short of matching a career high. He made 11 of 19 shots, including a three-pointer. On the season, he is shooting 55 percent from the field, using his 6-foot-7 frame to his benefit.
“I just know that I’ve got to take advantage of it and I’ve got to finish all my layups,” Duvall said.
He was unaware he was closing in on a career high.
“I was just thinking about winning the game,” Duvall said.
Saleh and Duvall, along with Chris Herbort (18 points) helped the Beavers get off to a 9-0 lead with less than two minutes played in the first quarter. The Beavercreek lead never dipped below seven points the rest of the game.
“We were hoping to (start fast),” Coach Steve Pittman said. “They played (Friday) night. We hadn’t played since Tuesday. I felt like they would be in a game rhythm. We started off OK.”
The Beavercreek lead reached 21-6 after a Herbort bucket with 2:18 left in the first, but Fairborn went on a 9-0 run thanks to three-pointers from Cole Spencer and Brody Munger and three free throws from Dwight Lewis III.
Gabe Aga hit two free throws for the Beavers (9-6 overall) at the end of the quarter and the teams seemingly traded buckets in the second quarter, until the final four minutes when Beavercreek scored 10 straight.
Gabe Phillips, Braden Grant, and Herbort all scored during the run. Julius Pullen nailed a three-pointer with 4.5 seconds left to make it a 39-25 game at halftime, much to the dismay of Pittman.
“I can’t go over what was said at halftime,” he said with a laugh. “I just challenged them to compete. I felt like we picked it up a little better in the third quarter.”
Pullen scored the first bucket of the second half, but then Beavercreek scored 16 straight to blow the game open.
Fairborn managed just seven points in the third quarter.
“We’ve got to value each possession,” Fairborn coach Billy Harchick said. “I think some of the shots we took weren’t the best. It’s about heart and effort.”
He also credited Beavercreek.
“Their height killed us,” Harchick said. “They’re a lot better than they were last year.”
Fairborn (1-14), meanwhile, is in a transition year after losing seven seniors from last season.
“It’s been tough,” Harchick said.
Phillips added 10 points for the Beavers, while Grant added seven, and Siloam Baldwin had six points and eight rebounds.
Spencer scored 19 to lead the Skyhawks, while Lewis added 13. Fairborn is at Troy at 7:30 p.m. today (Jan. 28), while the Beavers host Elder at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 28.
Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.