Unbeaten Knights make believers of Beavers

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Unbeaten Knights make believers of Beavers

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Beavercreek’s Rachel Mitchell (left) launches a 3-point shot over Alter defender Maddie Bazelak during a girls high school basketball game at Alter on Monday, Dec. 30, 2013. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF

Girls basketball seasons aren’t supposed to end at the sectional level at Alter. Not with state title and plenty of final four banners and hardware strategically spread throughout its school hallways.

But that’s what has happened each of the last two seasons with the Knights.

“The coaches didn’t want to put pressure on us,” junior standout Maddie Bazelak said following Monday night’s 70-52 beatdown of visiting Beavercreek before a capacity crowd.

“We just decided to take a step back and build as a team. It’s been a great season. We’ve been looking forward to it. You can really see us getting strong as a team and developing more.”

And how. The Knights padded their perfect start to 9-0 with another lopsided non-league victory in what served as their final Litmus test of 2013. The Beavers limped home 9-3, their six-game win streak in tatters and two-game series with Fairmont and Centerville waiting.

Ahead by just seven at halftime, Alter flexed its superior height, depth and shooting ability and blew out their rivals in the final two periods.

Bazelak, a menacing 6-foot junior forward and three-year starter, led Alter with 15 points. Hayley Combs, a 6-foot sophomore, was next with 11 points. Emma Bockrath, a 5-9 junior guard, added 10.

Alter’s heralded freshman guard Braxtin Miller was sick but contributed a couple of treys in limited time.

Alter’s demise in the sectional coincided with Bockrath blowing out an ACL near tourney time last season. Now, the Knights are fully healed and full of ambition.

“Defensively, they just get after you,” said veteran Beavercreek coach Ed Zink, in his 39th season guiding the Beavers. “And they just keep coming and bringing kids off the bench. They don’t lose a lot.”

Alter and Chaminade Julienne are both 3-0 in the Greater Catholic League Coed North Division. They’ll play the first of two regular-season games on Saturday at CJ (7:30 p.m.).

Also on deck for the Knights next month is a Classic in the Country trip against perennial small-school power and host Berlin Hiland.

Alter’s schedule isn’t meant to yield an unbeaten season. But for now, it’ll do. This might be just a hint of what could come; the Knights have just three seniors on the varsity roster.

“One of the things that we’re fortunate to have this year is a lot of really nice players who can step up any night and help us in a lot of different ways,” Alter coach Chris Hart said. “Our young kids are more than contributing.”

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