HUBER HEIGHTS — The Beavercreek Beavers were 56 seconds away from a much-needed signature win against the Wayne Warriors Feb. 1.
But up four points and in possession of the ball, the turnover bug bit the visiting Beavers hard, leading to a stunning 54-51 comeback win by Wayne in a game with post-season intensity and Greater Western Ohio Conference title implications.
Bailey Draughn had just made two free throws and Cori Dilsavor stole the ball on the ensuing Wayne possession, putting the Warrior defense in all-out-attack mode.
The pressure paid off seconds later as Wayne stole an errant pass, leading to one made free throw by Destiny Bohanon, who was fouled on the fast break. The Beavers again turned the ball over because of Wayne’s ball-trapping defense and Shai McGruder made a layup and a free throw after she was fouled to tie the game at 50-all with 31.7 seconds left.
After a timeout, Beavercreek turned the ball over on the inbound play, leading to a McGruder bucket and 52-50 Wayne lead with 25.8 seconds left. Dilsavor was fouled on the next ‘Creek possession and made one of two from the line. Wayne’s Maya Dunson was fouled and missed the front end of the one-and-one, but Wayne’s Nyla Hampton grabbed the rebound.
She missed the putback attempt, but Dominique Camp grabbed the second rebound, was fouled and made both free throws for a 54-51 lead with 12.7 seconds left.
The Beavers got the ball across halfcourt and took a timeout with 9.4 seconds left. They could not get off a 3-point shot in an effort to tie the game.
“They turned the heat up, obviously,” a dejected Beavercreek coach Ed Zink said. “For whatever reason, we got tight. Whenever you’re dribbling the ball around like that, that gives them the opportunity to double and triple. I should have called a timeout. I just thought we would get through it.”
Everyone wearing Beavercreek orange and black probably thought the Beavers would win prior to the final minute.
Beavercreek started strong, leading 18-15 after the first quarter, sparked by a pair of Dilsavor 3-pointers and five points from Keaira Youngblood, including a pull-up 3-pointer on a fast break.
The Beavers increased the lead through the second quarter thanks to a trio of treys by Youngblood, who scored all of her team-high 16 points in the first half. She capped off a near-perfect ‘Creek first half by making a fast-break layup a split-second before time ran out.
Wayne managed to cut into the lead a tad in the third quarter and trailed 41-34 after three.
Dunson scored inside to open the fourth, but Draughn made a 3-pointer to increase the lead to 44-36 with 7:28 left. Wayne then outscored Beavercreek 8-2 over the next four minutes to make it a 46-44 game with 3:32 left. Beavercreek’s Carmen Williams scored off a drive to the hoop to increase the lead to 48-44 with 2:43 left and then Hampton made a steal and layup for a 48-46 game with 1:33 left, setting up the furious finish.
“They played their hearts out,” Zink said. “They played so hard and so well. I just feel bad for our kids. I don’t know what to tell them in (the locker room.)”
Draughn scored 13 for the Beavers, who dropped to 12-6 overall and 7-2 in the GWOC National East. McGruder led all scorers with 19 points, while Bohanon added 10 for the 15-4 Warriors, who are now 10-0 in the National East with two games left.
The Beavers should still fare well in upcoming tournament draw. All six of their losses are to teams who figure to be No. 1 or 2 seeds, with the exception of Cincinnati Mt. Notre Dame, which will likely be a three seed behind state-ranked Mason and Lakota West.
Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.