Defense sparks Beavers to tourney win

By Scott Halasz

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HUBER HEIGHTS — Fairborn was a much better team Saturday than the one which lost to Beavercreek by 55 points in December.

The 17th-seeded Skyhawks led by three and had the ball late in the first quarter but a 13-0 run by the No. 4 Beavers to end the quarter erased the lead and wiped out any chance Fairborn had of pulling off a major upset in a Division I girls basketball tournament game at Wayne High School.

Sophomore Lexi Moore scored nine straight during the run as Beavercreek advanced to the next round with a 59-24 win. The Beavers (17-6) play No. 13 Troy Wednesday.

The run was started by a Keaira Younblood fast break off a turnover and continued as Beavercreek made steal after steal, much like the first game when the Beavers led 9-0 after the first quarter and 34-2 at halftime.

“You’re playing a powerhouse in Beavercreek,” Fairborn coach Bridgett Williams said. “They just get you with their hard work. We just hit a stronger opponent with their execution. Very good basketball IQ.”

Truer words were never spoken as Beavercreek’s players displayed their court-sense, anticipating the pass and jumping into the passing lane to create fast-break chances. Even after the initial Beavercreek run ended, the Beavers still forced turnover after turnover.

“We went to a little trap there in the second quarter,” Beavercreek Coach Ed Zink said. “(And) we finally hit a few shots there at the end of the first quarter. It gives you a little more confidence. Even when we subbed our subs did a real nice job.”

Behind Moore and Youngblood the Beavers built a 31-12 halftime lead and extended it to 45-18 after three. Moore finished with 15 points, while Youngblood added 13. Maddi Shannon chipped in eight for the Beavers. With her offensive effort, Youngblood eclipsed the 200-point mark this season.

Jana Brown-Griffith led Fairborn (6-17) with 13 points, while Evelyn Oktavek had seven. Courtney Mustard, the lone senior on the Fairborn roster, had four points and four rebounds in her final game.

“We’ll look for someone to fill (her) void, which is hard,” Williams said.

Beavercreek, meanwhile, had a couple days to get ready for Troy and possibly New Carlisle Tecumseh or Fairmont if the Beavers are successful Wednesday.

“We have a lot more work to do,” Zink said. “We just struggle in half-court sets sometimes. We’ve got to work on getting that ball inside more. They’re working hard. We’re getting better.”

Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.

Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.