BEAVERCREEK — It was a game that was rescheduled twice due to weather and the Beavercreek Beavers probably wish it had been simply cancelled.
Turning the ball over 15 times and making just seven first-half field goals, the Beavers fell behind early were defeated, 62-56 by Thurgood Marshall, Monday in non-league action that probably wasn’t as close as the score indicated.
Marshall (15-4) is one of the top Division II teams in the area and state and showed why. Aggressive defense, a potent fast break and a plethora of athleticism had the Beavers scraping and clawing just to get a shot while trailing by double digits most of the second half.
“They’re amazing athletes top to bottom,” Beavercreek coach John Ahrns said. “We were lucky to be in the game at halftime.”
The Cougars led 26-20 at the half and led by as many as eight in the third quarter before a a 3-pointer by Alec Stein and a basket by Zach Rower cut it to 32-29 with 5:13 left. The Cougars answered with a 9-0 run en route to a 43-31 lead after three. Beavercreek’s Airius Moore tried to get the Beavers (13-7) back in it, scoring 14 of his game-high 24 in the fourth quarter as the Beavers cut what was a 14-point lead to four (52-48) with 2:42 left.
“They backed off attacking and that worked out better for us than it should have,” Ahrns said.
But trimming the lead to four was as close as the Beavers could get the rest of the way.
“We get it to four with the ball and we continue with the same turnovers we’ve been talking about,” Ahrns said. “Lazy passes. We’ve had a season where we’ve been in every game. The big possessions we’re not coming through. We’re competing hard. We’re just a couple plays away.”
All the Cougars needed were a couple plays and a 6-2 run to put the game out of reach. A Tyler Eichhorn 3-point shot at the buzzer counted when a Cougar was called for goal tending.
Derrick Daniels led Thurgood Marshall with 16 points while Rachaun Martin added 15. Stein scored 11 for the Beavers.
Moore scored six of his points in the first quarter as the Beavers led 14-9 after one despite six turnovers. The Cougars opened up with a quick 4-0 lead but Moore and Eichhorn gave the Beavers a 9-7 lead with 2:20 left. A Rower spin in the lane gave the Beavers an 11-7 lead and then after a Cougars’ basket Stein drained a 3-pointer at the buzzer.
The turnover bug continued to plague the Beavers in the second quarter as they coughed it up nine times while making just 3 of 13 from the field. That helped the Cougars start the quarter on an 8-0 run to take an 18-14 lead midway through the quarter en route to a 26-20 halftime lead.
“Coach (Darnell) Hoskins got them playing, upping the intensity in the second quarter and that caused us to make more mistakes,” Ahrns said.
The tough schedule continues for the Beavers. They play at Centerville on Thursday, and host Bellbrook on Tuesday, before taking a short break prior to the Division I sectional tournament.