GROVE CITY, Ohio -- In the first of two Division II district finals on Saturday, No. 6 Beechcroft defeated No. 11 Eastmoor 39-36. The Cougars are district champions once again after hanging on to beat a tough Eastmoor team that didn’t go down without a fight.
Beechcroft was led by sophomore Amani Lyles with 14 points, 12 rebounds, and three blocks. Lyles came up huge and made winning plays down the stretch for the Cougars that helped lift them to the win.
The contest started slowly as each team scored just seven first quarter points. One of those baskets was a powerful left handed slam in transition from the 6-foot-6 sophomore Lyles, putting his athletic tools on display.
Beechcroft ended the first half on a 5-0 run by way of a three-pointer from sophomore Javo Jordan and then a steal and layup from sophomore JJ Simmons, giving them a 17-13 lead at the break.
Their run continued into the second half as Beechcroft scored the first four points of the third quarter, jumping out to their biggest lead of the afternoon, 21-13.
Eastmoor did not back down though. With their season and a district championship on the line, they responded with resilience and toughness.
With 1:31 left in the third quarter, a layup from Eastmoor’s Gabriel Oduro cut the Beechcroft lead down to just one. Good shot selection on offense and boxing out on the defensive end kept Eastmoor in the game.
The Cougars pushed their lead back out to five on a three-point basket from senior Davon Wooden, who played excellent with his high school career at risk of ending. Wooden finished with 10 points and six rebounds.
Eastmoor once again responded well and went on a 6-0 run to take a 33-32 lead with 4:55 remaining in the game.
When it mattered most, Lyles and Wooden stepped up big. The duo scored the two final baskets for Beechcroft, helping them to a 39-36 lead with a under a minute to go.
Eastmoor had a chance to tie the game as the final seconds were winding down. The Warriors got a decent look from behind the arc from senior Julian Binford, but the shot failed to fall.
Beechcroft advances to the regional semifinals where they will take on Kettering Alter next Thursday, March 12th at 6:15 at the University of Dayton.