Alter coach Eric Coulter loves that Flyin’ To The Hoop is here and gives his team chances like it had Saturday to play against one of the best Division II teams in Ohio. He wasn’t pleased with his team’s overall performance in a 72-52 loss to Cleveland Heights Lutheran East.
But the high level of competition?
That’s always an advantage for some local teams that don’t often face bigger and more athletic teams this time of year in league play. East is that kind of team and has made three straight trips to the state final four, winning the Division IV title in 2017 and losing in the Division III final last year.
“How do you as a coach look at this as a good experience?” Coulter said. “I look at it as a good experience.”
»RELATED: OSU recruit eager to return to court
The Knights (12-2) are coming off a 16-10 season, but they finished with a tournament run that included an upset of Chaminade Julienne. This year they have continued to play well behind the play of Brady Uhl, Jack Smith, Jacob Connor and Connor Stolly. To make another tournament run, Coulter knows his team will face athletic and complete teams like Lutheran East.
“You can’t simulate this in practice,” Coulter said. “This is what we’re going to need to do later on, this is the style we’re going to have to play. So for us to get a matchup like this is good for us.”
Where Alter fell short Saturday was shooting. Smith scored 23 points and made five of 10 3-point shots and Uhl scored 14, but as a team the Knights made only eight of 27 from 3-point range.
“Basketball’s a game where if you make shots everything looks good,” Coulter said. “And if you don’t make shots you get frustrated, and we were frustrated.”
»RELATED: Friday’s high school roundup
Lutheran East junior Jalin Billingsley, who is said to have an offer from Dayton, led the Falcons with 20 points. The Falcons made 10 of 24 3-point shots, which was much better than Coulter had seen in scouting.
Beavercreek 39 Carroll 34 (girls): Beavercreek coach Ed Zink deployed his matchup zone for the umpteenth time in his 45-year career in Saturday’s opener. He didn’t want his defense to get beat inside, but Carroll center Julia Keller ruined that plan with 23 points and nine rebounds.
Keller kept the Patriots (12-4) close, but the other thing Cecilia Grosselin’s team needed was to shoot anything close to its season 3-point percentage of 31.9. But the Patriots made just 3 of 23 from long distance, fell behind by 11 in the first half and could never draw even with the Beavers (10-6).
“We were very lucky that they were cold,” Zink said. “They got more good looks than we wanted, but with Keller inside she’s tough in there and she’s getting rebounds and a bunch of garbage points because she just outphysicals us. We wanted to try to keep people around here and you can’t cover everything.”
Keller surpassed 1,000 career points.
“Julia’s invaluable to us for defense, rebounds and offensively obviously,” Grosselin said. “They play that tough matchup zone, and that definitely was affecting us because we couldn’t get shots to fall. Typically we’re a better 3-point shooting team, but not today.”
Morgan Rhoades came off the bench to make two 3-pointers and score a team-high 13 points to lead the Beavers.
Carroll was supposed to play at Flyin’ last year but snow forced the girls game to be canceled.
“Its a real honor to come and be in the girls game,” Grosselin said. “They were excited. This whole atmosphere is great for basketball fans, and they were excited to have the opportunity.”
Zink also brought a team for the first time.
“We told the kids this is an honor to be here,” he said. “I think they took that to heart.”
Thank you for reading the Dayton Daily News and for supporting local journalism. Subscribers: log in for access to your daily ePaper and premium newsletters.
Thank you for supporting in-depth local journalism with your subscription to the Dayton Daily News. Get more news when you want it with email newsletters just for subscribers. Sign up here.