BEAVERCREEK — Centerville’s full-court in-your-face defense pestered Beavercreek into 19 turnovers, enough to take the Beavers out of their offensive rhythm while getting the Elks into theirs. Centerville led throughout Feb. 6 game to claim the outright Greater Western Ohio Conference East Division title with a dominant 54-37 win.
Even Beavercreek coach Ed Zink came away impressed with how the Elks played defense.
“They’re just so aggressive. And it’s constant, constant constant! There’s no let-up,” Zink said. “(Elks coach Adam Priefer) does a great job with their defensive help, and they’ve always been good defensively. But this year, I think they’re even better. They just never let you alone.”
Talented freshman Cotie McMahon led the Elks (20-1, 11-0 GWOC East) with a game-high 20 points, Amy Velasco scored 13 points and Alexis Hutchinson added 10. Centerville wraps up its regular season with a 7:30 p.m. game Saturday, Feb. 9 in Huber Heights against Wayne, who happens to be the only team that has scored 60 points against the Elks this season.
The Elks surprised coach Priefer by unfurling a banner after the game in celebration of his 300th career win. The team also received the 2019 GWOC East Division champions trophy.
“We had a lot at stake in this game. Winning the outright title, and claiming a win in this environment, I was impressed with how we played tonight,” Priefer said. “… I thought our defense was pretty good all night. We got our hands on a lot of balls, a lot of deflections. I was really impressed with how hard we played defensively.”
That pesky never-die full-court defensive pressure prevented Beavercreek from enjoying any kind of a shooting rhythm on offense. It was rare that a Beavercreek player would have an uncontested shot.
Priefer said that was the plan all along.
“Yeah, we try to thrive on being good on defense, and our defense leading to a good offense,” he said. “We did a good job of that.”
Beavercreek sophomore guard Alyssa Hargrove-Hall leads the Beavers in scoring with a 10.8 points-per-game scoring average, and she finished with 13 points to lead the team Wednesday night, but Kirsten Williams was held to seven points, while Morgan Rhoades and Taylor Steinbrenner finished with six points each in the loss.
Beavercreek (13-8, 6-5 GWOC East) was limited to two points scored in the final quarter.
“We cut the lead down to six points at one point (32-26) in the third quarter, but they get a score, then a steal for another score, and suddenly they’re up by 10,” Zink said. “Then we start the fourth quarter only down by seven, and we only score two points. … You just can’t win that way.”
Contact John Bombatch at 937-372-4444, Ext. 2123.