BEAVERCREEK — Despite having only three victories under its belt entering Friday night’s game against Northmont the Beavercreek Beavers are no pushover.
The hard luck Beavers gave Northmont everything it could handle, and if not for some bad breaks could have easily won the game.
Instead, Northmont was able to fend off the pesky Beavers to post a narrow 53-51 win.
It came down to a few key plays in the final seconds that allowed the Thunderbolts to escape with the win. Christian Wilson, who saw limited playing time, scored a layup to put Northmont up 53-50 with 15.6 seconds left.
With 14 seconds remaining Beavercreek leading scorer Jackson Back (21 points) drew a foul from Vinson Walker but whiffed on his first free throw attempt. He sank the second shot and then made up for his missed free throw by stealing the ball as the Thunderbolts put the ball in play. Beavercreek called timeout with 8.6 seconds left.
Northmont turned the table when Myles Tanner stole the ball when the Beavers put it in play, but lost the ball out of bounds almost instantly. With five seconds left Beavercreek had the chance to send the game into overtime. Northmont went into man-to-man defense and the Beavers put the ball into Back’s hands for the final shot.
The defensive pressure applied on Back was too intense. He had no space to work with and launched an off-balance shot from outside the 3-point stripe between the Beavercreek bench and the scorer’s table that was no where near the hoop just before the final buzzer as Northmont escaped with a two point victory.
“We made some critical mistakes late,” said Northmont Coach Collin Ables. “The inbounds pass we stole and threw away and the late foul that gave them an opportunity, but thankfully Back only made one of two. We made some not very good plays down the stretch. When Myles dropped that ball out of bounds I looked at my assistant coach and said, ‘This is a disaster.’ But I commend the guys because with five seconds left we went man-to-man when you have to stay tight to your man and chase everything. We were able to make them throw that ball away to a guy away from the basket, and by the time he hands it off Back he had nothing to do but shoot a prayer.”
Jason Biggs led Northmont with 21 points while Jarell Taylor had 16.
“Jason and Jelly (Taylor) made some big plays offensively, but more importantly we had some guys like Rodney Richardson get some big rebounds and then Myles Tanner and Christian Wilson came in late in the game and gave us a spark defensively,” Abels said. “Wilson played quite a bit early and then we kind of went away from him and that is my fault. We should have gnoe back to him a litle earlier, but I was glad that when we went back to him he got us a big basket late. Biggs had a good game offensively and did a great job shadowing Back and forcing him to take that tough shot.
“I am proud of those guys,” Abels added. “When you are on the bench you have two choices: you can tune out or tune in. They were tuned in and came off the bench to do some nice things for us defensively down the stretch.”
With the win Northmont improved to 11-8 overall and 5-3 in division play while Beavercreek fell to 3-16 and 0-8.
NMT 15 30 43 53 – 53
BEA 15 32 41 51 – 51
Northmont: Jarell Taylor 16, Jabari Perkins 6, Christian Wilson 4, Rodney Richardson 4, Arius Spears2, Jason Biggs 21. Totals: 18-11-53.
Beavercreek: Jackson Back 21, Jon Alessandro 2, Alec Otto 4, Drew Prater 3, Cedric Baldwin 16, Jackson Hansen 5. Totals: 19-7-51.
3-point goals: Northmont 6 (Biggs 3, Perkins 2, Taylor); Beavercreek 6 (Back 5, Prater).
Records: Northmont 11-8 (5-3), Beavercreek 3-16 (0-8).
JV Score: Northmont 58 Beavercreek 36.