BEAVERCREEK — Taking a few early season losses while your team adjusts to playing basketball together is one thing. Taking those lumps against one of the state’s top Division I basketball programs is another.
An inexperienced Beavercreek team took a lot of lumps Dec. 1 in a 76-37 home loss to a veteran bunch from Cincinnati Mount Notre Dame.
Beavercreek never held a lead in the contest, and trailed 16-2 barely four minutes into the game.
“(Growing pains) is part of it. We lost six seniors from last year, and we’ve really got three kids who played much varsity basketball at all. The rest are pretty new to it,” veteran coach Ed Zink said after the Beavers loss. “Then to play a team like Mount Notre Dame, they’re very good. Two years ago, they won state. Last year, they beat us by 21 and made it to the regional semifinals. They’ve got four of their starters back, plus a tremendous freshman. I was just disappointed in how we played.”
Zink said the Beavers had good looks at the basket, but just couldn’t convert those shots.
“That’s a good team. If we played them a lot of times, we’re going to lose a lot of those times. But I wanted us to be a little more competitive. We didn’t shoot it well … especially in that first quarter. We gave up 27 points. That’s just not acceptable.”
Freshman K.K. Bransford led the Cougars (2-1) with a game-high 17 points. Senior Gabbie Marshall, a second-team All-Ohio selection last season, was next with 11 points. All of her 11 was scored in the opening quarter of play. Three other MND players finished the day with eight points each. Ten Cougars scored in the game.
Mount Notre Dame’s lone loss this season came in a season opening loss to defending Division III state champion Columbus Africentric. MND will begin Girls Greater Catholic League play at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 4 when they’ll play at Ursuline Academy.
Senior forward Taylor Steinbrunner and sophomore guard Trinity Bean both finished with eight points to lead the Beavers (1-2). Sophomore guard Alyssa Hargrove-Hall scored seven points, while Tiernan McKitrick (five), Morgan Rhoades (three), Maggie Holstein, Maci Rhoades, and Kirsten Williams (two each) scored the rest for Beavercreek.
The Beavers jump into Greater Western Ohio Conference, National East divisional play for their next game, a 7:30 p.m. contest on Wednesday, Dec. 5 against Wayne. Zink hopes his youthful team will be ready.
“We play these tougher teams to try and get ourselves better down the road, come tournament time,” Zink said, “but if our kids don’t learn from this, then it’s going to be tough.
“I think they will learn from these games. We’ll get better.”
Contact John Bombatch at 937-372-4444, Ext. 2123.