BEAVERCREEK — A few weeks ago the Beavercreek Beavers were a longshot to win the Greater Western Ohio Conference Central Division title.
It was the long shot on Friday that got Beavercreek back into championship contention. The Beavers made 10 of 16 from long range and withstood a late rally to defeat first-place Springfield, 71-66, and move into first place by percentage points over the Wildcats.
“We’ve always been able to shoot in practice,” Beavers coach John Ahrns said. “We haven’t really been able to display that in a game. We had great looks.”
And now Beavercreek has a great look at the rest of the GWOC Central.
They weren’t too far removed from a pair of disappointing home losses, both at the buzzer, to Wayne and Centerville that dropped them a couple games out of first. But Beavercreek received the help it needed and regained its early-season shooting form to record a season sweep of the Wildcats.
“Things played out just exactly the way we wanted them to,” Ahrns said. “We’re just happy that we’re in a position … to win the league title by just winning out.”
Jared Waters scored 17 points and grabbed 11 rebounds and Alec Stein and Tyler Reasoner each added 14 while Zach Rower chipped in 13 for Beavercreek, which improved to 13-4 overall and 6-2 in the GWOC.
Waters made three 3-pointers while Stein made all four treys he hoisted, including three in the first half.
“After school, I came in and I shot,” Stein said. “I felt my shot was there.”
The rest of the Beavers followed suit. In addition to the 3-point prowess, Beavercreek made 16 of 31 from 2-point range.
“The beginning of the season, it was here and there,” Stein said of the shooting. “This game we finally had all of our starters come in (and score).”
Stein made two 3-pointers in the first 39 seconds to help Beavercreek jump out to a quick 10-0 lead. Airius Moore and Waters each drained 3-pointers a few minutes later and Beavercreek led 18-5 before the Wildcats settled down.
The Beavers led 22-15 after the first quarter and 40-25 at halftime, thanks in part to treys from Waters, Stein and Tyler Eichhorn. A long 3-pointer from Stein early in the third gave the Beavers their biggest lead 51-28, before the turnover bug hit the Beavers, allowing Springfield cut it to 53-42 after three.
The Wildcats (13-3, 5-2) stayed close until midway through the third when a pair of monster dunks by Waters within seconds of each other ignited the crowd and the Beavers.
The first came on a drive from the elbow to the baseline that ended with a two-handed slam. The second was on a lob from Moore. Those gave the Beavers a 67-51 lead.
Springfield did cut the deficit to single digits in the final minute to make the score seem a little closer. Dae’Shawn Jackson led the Wildcats with 21 points.
“We just made eye contact,” Waters said of the play with Moore. “I saw it and went up for it. Random play. We definitely needed a spark.”