West girls slip past Beavers in final seconds to earn district crown

Lakota West’s Sarah Jones (15) steals the ball as Beavercreek’s Kirsten Williams tries to recover during Saturday’s Division I district final at Princeton. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY DAVID A. MOODIE
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Lakota West’s Sarah Jones (15) steals the ball as Beavercreek’s Kirsten Williams tries to recover during Saturday’s Division I district final at Princeton. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY DAVID A. MOODIE

The Beavercreek Beavers had answers for everything Lakota West threw at them — right up until the last minute Saturday.

That wasn’t long enough to pull off what would have been a stunning upset.

Junior Abby Prohaska picked up a loose ball and gave the Firebirds a 51-50 lead on a wide-open layup with 59 seconds left and classmate Sarah Jones added two free throws with 2.1 seconds remaining to help West erase deficits of 15 points early and eight going into the fourth quarter and squeeeze out a 53-50 win in a Division I district girls basketball final at Princeton’s Viking Arena.

“It’s a bit surreal,” West coach Andy Fishman said. “As long as I’ve been doing this, I’ve learned never to panic. You want to stay as positive with the kids as possible and give them the opportunity to make plays. We executed down the stretch. So did Beavercreek. It was a great game.”

The win sends West (24-2), the No. 2 team in the Associated Press state poll, into a regional semifinal on Wednesday at Fairmont’s Trent Arena against fifth-ranked Mason. The Firebirds have won 11 consecutive games.

Lakota West’s Jasmine Ballew (30) sets up to take a shot against Beavercreek’s Lexi Moore (44) during Saturday’s Division I district final at Princeton. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY DAVID A. MOODIE
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Lakota West’s Jasmine Ballew (30) sets up to take a shot against Beavercreek’s Lexi Moore (44) during Saturday’s Division I district final at Princeton. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY DAVID A. MOODIE

The 5-foot-6 Jones finished with a game-high 19 points and the 5-10 Prohaska was right behind her with 18 for a West team that shot a blistering 78.6 percent (11 of 14) from the field in the second half, including 3 of 4 on 3-pointers.

Junior Cori Dilsavor led three Beavers in double figures with 12 points. Junior forward Lexi Moore added 11 and senior guard Keaira Youngblood scored 10 for Beavercreek, which finished 17-9.

“This is one of my toughest losses in 42 years,” Beavers coach Ed Zink said. “We told the girls, ‘Be disappointed in the loss, but don’t walk out of here with your head down.’ They did a great job. Their effort was outstanding.”

West didn’t lead until Prohaska sank a layup for a 45-43 advantage with 4:23 left in the game. The Beavers regrouped for a 50-47 lead on Moore’s putback of a missed free throw with just under two minutes remaining, but Prohaska cut the gap to one on a leaner.

Senior guard Emma Haynes came up with a deflection near midcourt. Sophomore guard Bryana Henderson kept the ball alive and Prohaska gathered it up and sailed downcourt for the go-ahead layup.

Lakota West coach Andy Fishman shouts directions to his players during Saturday’s Division I district final against Beavercreek at Princeton. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY DAVID A. MOODIE
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Lakota West coach Andy Fishman shouts directions to his players during Saturday’s Division I district final against Beavercreek at Princeton. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY DAVID A. MOODIE

Beavercreek limited the Firebirds to 8 of 25 (32 percent) from the field in the first half while building a 25-23 halftime lead against a team that hadn’t allowed more than 36 points in any of its last five games. Youngblood scored eight points and Dilsavor six for the Beavers, who led by as many as 12 points (14-2) in the first quarter after an 8-0 run. Youngblood scored the last five points during the run on a 3-pointer and a layup.

West put together its own 12-point run to tie the game at 14-14 on a Jasmine Ballew 3-pointer, but the Beavers responded with a five-point flurry for a 19-14 lead.

Prohaska scored a team-high seven points while going 2 of 8 from the field in the first half.

“When we went in down only (two) at halftime, I felt like that kind of brought us together,” Prohaska said. “I think we were ready for everything they threw at us. It’s just that our execution wasn’t what it needed to be early in the game.”

Beavercreek 14-11-16-9—50

Lakota West 6-17-10-20—53

BEAVERCREEK (17-9): Bailey Draughn 3 1 8, Carmen Williams 2 2 8, Keaira Youngblood 4 1 10, Cori Dilsavor 4 3 12, Michaela Rhodes 0 1 1, Lexi Moore 5 1 11. Totals: 18-9-50

LAKOTA WEST (24-2): Emma Haynes 2 0 4, Sarah Jones 6 3 19, Ally Haar 1 0 3, Jasmine Ballew 3 0 7, Nevaeh Dean 1 0 2, Abby Prohaska 6 4 18. Totals: 19-7-53

3-pointers: B 5 (Williams 2, Draughn, Youngblood, Dilsavor), L 8 (Jones 4, Prohaska 2, Haar, Ballew)

Lakota West’s Abby Prohaska (32) comes up with a steal in the closing minutes of Saturday’s Division I district final against Beavercreek at Princeton. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY DAVID A. MOODIE
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Lakota West’s Abby Prohaska (32) comes up with a steal in the closing minutes of Saturday’s Division I district final against Beavercreek at Princeton. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY DAVID A. MOODIE

Lakota West’s Jaydis Gales (00) and Angelia Jackson (22) shout encouragement to thier teammates during the closing minutes of the Firebirds’ Division I district final victory over Beavercreek at Princeton on Saturday. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY DAVID A. MOODIE
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Lakota West’s Jaydis Gales (00) and Angelia Jackson (22) shout encouragement to thier teammates during the closing minutes of the Firebirds’ Division I district final victory over Beavercreek at Princeton on Saturday. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY DAVID A. MOODIE

Lakota West’s Abby Prohaska (32) is about to connect on the go-ahead basket down the stretch in Saturday’s Division I district final against Beavercreek at Princeton. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY DAVID A. MOODIE
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Lakota West’s Abby Prohaska (32) is about to connect on the go-ahead basket down the stretch in Saturday’s Division I district final against Beavercreek at Princeton. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY DAVID A. MOODIE