BEAVERCREEK — Northmont went 0—4 at the free throw line in the first half, but knocked down 12 of 14 in the final two quarters Friday to post a 51-44 victory over a tenacious Beavercreek team.
The Beavers used a man defense heavy on the gaps that looked like a zone to frustrate the Thunderbolts early. Northmont only managed to score two points the entire first quarter and trailed 8-2 entering the second eight minutes of play. Beavercreek opened up a 14-5 lead before Northmont’s offense started to show signs of life.
“I thought we were a little too much dribble and jump shot happy and we haven’t playing that way,” said Northmont Coach Collin Abels. “The last couple of weeks we’ve been doing a great job of pushing the basketball and sharing the ball, and I thought in the first half we got a little too one-on-one offensively a little too much dribbling and got away from the roots of what we do.”
The close confines of Beavercreek’s gymnasium and an always rowdy student cheering section coupled with the Beavers’ defensive strategy seemed to have the Thunderbolts rattled early on.
Christian Wilson buried a 3-pointer early in the second quarter and Vinson Walker scored inside the paint. Jabari Perkins came up with a steal at midcourt and took the ball in for a dunk to cut Beavercreek’s lead to 14-9. DaLonte Capers and Arius Spears each scored to close the gap to 16-13 at the half.
After the break Northmont played with more composure. Rodney Richardson scored following a Beavercreek turnover and Spears was awarded a basket on a goal tending call to give the Thunderbolts a 17-16 lead. From that point on Northmont led the remainder of the game. The Thunderbolts opened up a 23-16 lead but the Beavers pulled to within three points on five separate occasions before Northmont took a 35-30 lead entering the final quarter.
The Thunderbolts opened up a 39-30 lead but Beavercreek kept fighting back and cut the lead to 42-39 with 1:23 remaining. Capers scored underneath but Jon Allessandro scored off a rebound to keep a three point game. Vinson Walker got open inside to boost Northmont’s lead to five, but Peyton Young buried a trey to cut the Bolts’ lead to 46-44 with 31 seconds left.
Northmont converted five of six shots from the free throw line in the final 30 seconds while holding the Beavers scoreless to post a 51-44 victory.
“It’s a credit to our kids. Tough teams and good teams find ways to win,” Abels added. “Tonight’s win wasn’t pretty but our defense kept us in the game during the first half. In the second half we rebounded the ball much better and made some huge free throws down the stretch. Capers made some big free throws, Wilson made some big ones and that’s what teams have got to do in this league. When you play in this league, every team has good players and good coaches. I go around to other leagues and there are always a couple of games a team can walk in and know they are going to win on talent alone, and you don’t find that in the GWOC. You have got to go in and play and earn every victory that you get.”
NMT 2 13 35 51 – 51
BVC 8 16 30 44 – 44
Northmont: Christian Wilson 9, Jabari Perkins 4, Vinson Walker 17, Rodney Richardson 2, Arius Spears 8, DaLonte Capers 11. Totals: 19-12-51.
Beavercreek: Peyton Young 14, Cedrick Baldwin 10, Jordan Williams 3, Jon Allessandro 17. Totals: 16-8-44.
3-point goals: Northmont 1 (Wilson); Beavercreek 4 (Young 2, J. Williams, Jon Allessandro).
Records: Northmont 11-2 (6-1), Beavercreek 6-5 (3-4).
Reach Ron Nunnari at 684-9124, via email Rnunnari@civitasmedia.com or on Twitter @Englewood_Ind