BEAVERCREEK — In a game with state-tournament intensity and a plethora of ESPN-quality big shots, visiting Fairmont outlasted Beavercreek, 80-76, in double overtime Jan. 5.
It was an instant classic.
The largest lead in regulation was five points and Beavercreek seemed poised for a season-defining win with a three-point lead and 9.3 seconds left. But Cade Morgan swished a desperation three-pointer with a couple ticks left after the Beavers were in lock-down defensive mode to send the game to overtime tied at 60.
Four minutes later it was Beavercreek’s turn.
Fairmont led 68-64 with 36.5 seconds left in OT, but Chris Herbort drained a three-pointer with 29.3 seconds left, and then after Jack Hendricks made two free throws for Fairmont, Brayden Walther drained a game-tying three-pointer with about a second left to force double overtime.
The Beavers turned the ball over four times to start the second overtime and Fairmont pulled away to win for the sixth straight time. Evan Saylor and Jon Alessandro made three-pointers in the final 10 seconds for the Beavers (3-8 overall, 1-5 Greater Western Ohio Conference National East).
Alessandro finished with a team-high 21 points, while Herbort added 15 and Joe Alessandro 10. Hendricks — coming off a school record 52-point game — led all scorers with 23 points, while Kellan Bochenek added 19 and Morgan 11.
“I was happy with the way the guys fought,” Beavercreek Coach Mark Hess said. “We had guys step up. Just wish we could have got the W. I really thought we played good enough to win.”
Indeed they did.
‘Creek turned the ball over just 14 times, and had the inside-outside offense working to near-perfection. Defensively, the Beavers held the Firebirds (7-2, 3-2 GWOC National East) to 10 points below their win-streak average.
Fairmont jumped out to a quick 6-2 lead off three-pointers from Hendricks and Bochenek but the Beavers seemingly matched them shot-for-shot as Saylor and Herbort made three-pointers of their own. Fairmont led 20-16 after the first quarter and maintained the lead throughout the second. The Alessandro Brothers combined for 12 points in the second and Fairmont led just 31-30 at halftime.
The teams traded the lead a couple times in the third quarter as the Firebirds led 44-42 after three. A Herbort three-pointer and fast-break bucket gave the Beavers a 47-44 lead two minutes into the fourth and the teams again traded the lead before the Beavers built their lead in the final seconds.
It’s the second overtime loss for Beavercreek, which also had a four-point loss at Hamilton, a five-point loss at Lebanon and an eight-point loss at Springfield, during which the Beavers trailed by three and had the ball in the final minute.
“We’re just waiting to get over the hump,” Hess said. “I really thought tonight was that night. We were set up for it.”