VANDALIA — One area team coughed up too many turnovers for their coach’s liking and lost, while another dug deep to rally to a win, Wednesday night at the Butler High School Student Activities Center.
Beavercreek’s Adam Duvall hit two free throws with 1.2 seconds left in the Beavers’ game with West Carrollton to give his team a come-from-behind 64-63 win.
Beavers coach Steve Pittman called the play with 3.1 seconds left on the game clock.
“Taxing. Tiresome. Both teams came to play,” Pittman said. “I just think we showed some intestinal fortitude in those last few minutes to pull this win out like that.
“And Duvall, he’s a 90-percent free-throw shooter. He’s the guy you really want on the line at that time … It worked out in our favor.”
On a set play from the right baseline near the basket, Duvall took an inbounds pass from senior guard Yousef Saleh and drove into the lane where he was mauled by a pair of West Carrollton defenders.
He appeared calm as he stepped to the free-throw line and nailed them both.
West Carrollton had one last-gasp try at scoring a go-ahead bucket, but Stanley Shivers’ half-court try fell short.
“I think it was a pretty good designed play for us to get him the ball. And he didn’t settle, because he could’ve bounced back out and taken a jump shot, but he didn’t settle. He got to the basket, pump faked and got the contact, then went up and made those free throws,” Pittman said of Duvall’s heroics.
Duvall scored 15 of his game-best 25 points in the fourth quarter. Saleh finished with 14 points, and Mali Harris-Strayhorn scored nine to lead the second-seeded Beavers to the win.
Sophomore Cole McCandless led the Pirates with 22 points, Sam Walker scored 14, and the other Pirate in double-figure scoring was Austin Jones with 12.
Beavercreek (15-9) will now advance to take on No. 6-seed Springfield (12-12), a 75-52 winner over Xenia in Wednesday’s first game in Vandalia.
Bucs stopped by Springfield
Xenia coach Kent Anderson said two key statistics spelled trouble for his Buccaneers, Wednesday night against the Wildcats.
“Twenty turnovers, and we gave up 20 offensive rebounds. Most of the turnovers were live-ball turnovers that led to easy scores. If you give up 10-12 live-ball turnovers that go for 20-25 points, there’s the difference in your ballgame,” Anderson said.
Gavin Gerhardt led Xenia (5-18) with 13 points, while Shawn Thigpen and Dylan Hoosier scored 10.
“I thought Gavin did a nice job for us inside tonight. That was nice to see in his final game, but we just had too many turnovers and gave up too many offensive rebounds,” Anderson said. “There’s two positives I’ve drawn from this season: 1) is the relationship with those kids, because they never wavered all year. Even when we were struggling in the win column, they came to practice every day and worked their tails off. … 2) And also, I see some young kids comin’. We’ve got some solid youth in our program and most of them will be back next season. We’ve got a lot to look forward to, but tonight’s loss is just hard to swallow.”
Xenia loses seniors Cameron McFarland, Gerhardt and Alex Sparks.
“Cameron has worked his tail off to get where he is. I’m so happy for Gavin tonight. He had a chance to leave us early (for the University of Cincinnati), but instead chose to stay because he wanted to play basketball with these guys. And Alex we lost for the year with a shoulder injury. I wish them well, obviously,” Anderson said.
Springfield also enjoyed a good bit of scoring balance: Larry Stephens led the Wildcats with 10 points, Jeff Tolliver and Devin Alston scored nine points each, while three other Springfield teammates scored eight.
The Wildcats will take on Beavercreek for the sectional crown at 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 28 at Butler High.
Contact John Bombatch at 937-372-4444, Ext. 2123.