BEAVERCREEK — The Ed Zink Fieldhouse at Beavercreek High School and its close confines with the bleachers within a few feet of the sidelines always proves to be an entertaining setting for a high school basketball game, but not always for the visiting team.
Such was the case Friday night as Northmont seemed to fall under the spell of the fieldhouse and started out the game without scoring on its first six possessions. On the other hand the Beavers scored on four of their first six possessions to jump to an early 10-0 lead and never looked back. The Beavers hung on to secure a 58-54 win.
“When you start down 10-0 it’s always tough to recover from that,” said Northmont Coach Shane Kincer. “I thought our kids continued to fight back. They cut it to 14-10 at the end of the first quarter, but then they went on another run at the start of the second quarter and had us down 12 at half. The one thing that I am so proud of about my team is that they didn’t quit. Their effort was tremendous compared to what it was the other night. We played Lebanon and didn’t play very hard and the result showed.”
Danny Lewis, who led Northmont with a team-high 17 points, scored back-to-back baskets to open the third quarter to keep the Thunderbolts within 10 points of ‘Creek. Isaiah Moore buried a 3-pointer, Chris Herbort came up with a steal and Moore scored again to boost the Beavers’ lead to 40-25.
Northmont pulled to within 11 twice late in the third on a pair of free throws by Justin Golson and later on a basket by Golson to trail 45-34 entering the fourth quarter. Patrick Ivory and Golson scored Northmont’s opening baskets in the fourth to cut the deficit to seven.
With three minutes remaining Miles Johnson nailed a 3-pointer to cut the deficit to 51-43. Lewis followed with a steal and a score to make it 51-45 but Northmont forced too many shots inside and Beavercreek opened up an 11 point lead with less than a minute remaining.
Lewis fired in a trey with 5 seconds remaining and after a Beavercreek turnover Corey Gay launched a shot three quarters the length of the court that went in just before the buzzer to make the final 58-54.
“Tonight I felt like the team played for 32 minutes and gave every effort they had to get it down to a four point game,” Kincer added. “A couple plays here and there go a little different and the outcome might have been the way we wanted it to end up tonight.”
When asked if converting from an up-tempo attack to a more deliberate half-court offense had ever been considered, Kincer said that was not really a viable option.
“We are not a very good half-court offensive team,” Kincer said. “For us to have a chance we have to scrap up the game a little bit… try to speed our opponents up on defense, turn them over and get us easy opportunities offensively. We’ve struggled mightily shooting the ball from outside and when we slow it down and play in the half-court we end up giving ourselves the chance to shoot threes and as a team we are shooting 25 percent on the year, so that’s the part that we struggle with when we slow the game down.”
Saturday night, weather permitting, the Thunderbolts are scheduled to host Franklin and then host one of the GWOC’s hottest teams 9-1 Sidney on Tuesday. After that Northmont doesn’t play again until Tuesday, Jan. 22 at Chaminade-Julienne.
NMT 10 21 34 54 – 54
BEA 14 33 45 58 – 58
Northmont: Miles Johnson 2-1-6, Danny Lewis 6-4-17, Di’talian Rayford 1-2-4, Patrick Ivory 3-2-8, Justin Golson 2-2-6, Isaiah Baldwin 1-0-2, Ifeyani Nwanoro 0-2-2, Corey Gay 1-4-7. Justus Thomas 1-0-2. Totals: 17-17-54.
Beavercreek: Jim Hymes 2-1-5, Yousef Saleh 1-0-2, Brayden Walther 4-2-12, Chris Herbort 1-3-5, Mali Harris-Strayhorn 3-0-6, Isaiah Moore 5-0-13, Adam Duvall 1-0-3, Brandon Zink 1-2-4, Brentin Seaman 2-4-8. Totals: 20-12-58.
3-point goals: Northmont 3 (M. Johnson, Lewis, Gay); Beavercreek 6 (Moore 3, Walther 2, Duvall).
Records: Northmont 4-7 (1-6), Beavercreek 4-7 (2-5).
JV Score: Beavercreek 44 Northmont 39.
Reach Ron Nunnari at 684-9124, via email Rnunnari@aimmediamidwest.com or on Twitter @Englewood_Ind