It took some time for John Davis III, Beachwood’s leading scorer, to find his groove in a 71-47 victory over visiting Kirtland on Thursday. Davis scored 18 of his game-high 22 points in the second half to seal the Bison’s third straight victory.
“John struggled out of the gate,” said Beachwood head coach Jason Pecjak. “He was making it hard on himself, taking contested shots, but he responded in the second half.”
Beachwood (10-2 overall, 7-1 in the Chagrin Valley Conference) took charge early, thanks to juniors Julio Stevens and Sterling “Trey” Sandersand senior Jon Tramer. Stevens scored seven first quarter points while Sanders and Tramer each added five points in the first eight minutes.
The Bison led 21-13 after the first quarter and extended their lead to 28-15 late in the second before Kirtland went on a 9-2 run to close out the half.
The Hornets (6-3, 5-3) maintained their momentum early in the third when sophomore Matthew Finkler converted an and-one and senior Scott Eilerman’s jumper cut Beachwood’s lead to 32-30.
Stevens, who finished with 15 points, followed that up with a 3-pointer but another Eilerman bucket kept Kirtland within striking distance at 35-31.
That’s when the Bison took over.
Tramer hit from behind the arc, Davis picked off a Kirtland pass and scored then Stevens and Sanders hit back-to-back 3-pointers, leaving Beachwood with a comfortable 46-32 lead.
“Today was the one I was worried about,” Pecjak said, referring to the Bison’s first of three games in three days. “It was finals week and we had a couple of days off with the weather, but that’s not an excuse. We had to overcome it. Tomorrow we’re on the road (at Newbury) and Saturday we’re center stage (in the Dunk 4 Diabetes Shootout). We’re excited and I thought we set the tone tonight.”
A Stevens jumper pushed Beachwood’s scoring run to 13 before an Eilerman bucket temporarily stopped the Bison scoring barrage.
Davis, who scored the first basket of the third quarter, went on to sink three straight 3’s in the final two minutes of the third quarter.
“I always say if I hit just one shot they all start going down,” Davis said. “I came out at halftime and didn’t worry about the first half. I hit that first one and I felt it right away. I knew something was coming.”
Freshman Ronald Jones ended the third with a block and lay-up and opened the fourth with a 3-pointer. He finished with 11 points.
An Eilerman basket finally ended Beachwood's 27-2 run.
Beachwood finished the game with 12 3-pointers, four of those from Davis. Tramer and Sanders each scored 10 points for the Bison.
Eilerman led Kirtland with 15 points and senior Zach Kusar added 10.
Beachwood travels to Newbury on Friday then to Walsh University on Saturday, where they’ll play Barberton in the 2013 Dunk 4 Diabetes Shootout.
JV Score: Beachwood 56, Kirtland 51