By Brad Morris
When New Hope had Holden Roese, Caleb Heidish and Donovan Geddis on the floor together Saturday night, the Statesmen were humming on offense.
The trio combined for 55 points and helped lead the Statesmen to a 62-54 non-league win over the host Circleville Tigers.
“Donovan, Holden and Caleb are the focal point on offense this season for us and in past years we haven’t had to depend on them to produce as many points,” New Hope coach Shane Roese said. “I felt like Donovan and Holden were both trying to find their rhythm in the first half and then in the second half we spaced out the floor a little better and got both of them in better positions to score.”
The Statesmen led by as many as 10 points during the third quarter, but four turnovers over the final two minutes of the period helped the Tigers claw to within a possession at 41-38. Ethan Moore led the CHS run with six points.
“(Circleville coach Cody Carpenter) had his kids ready to play and they played with a tremendous amount of energy and passion,” Coach Roese said. “We had our lead up to 8-10 points several times during the game where we felt like we were about ready to pull away, but Circleville responded every time.”
Heidish returned to the floor to open the fourth quarter with three fouls. While Heidish wasn’t able to continue his hot start from the field that included a pair of three-pointers and eight total points in the opening quarter, he provided another ball-handler and allowed the Statesmen to spread the floor.
“Caleb was a big part of helping us to spread the court better on offense and get into a good flow, because he’s a good ball-handler and also a good defender on the other end of the court,” Coach Roese said.
New Hope scored on four of its first five possession of the period, led by Geddis knocking down three baskets and Roese draining a three-pointer, to take its largest lead of of the night at 50-38 with 5:40 remaining.
“I felt the first three minutes were going to be very critical to what happened for the rest of the quarter, and Donovan and Holden stepped up there and made some big plays for us,” Coach Roese said.
The Statesmen maintained their 12-point lead with 3:12 remaining, thanks to another triple and a layup courtesy of Roese, but the Tigers still had one more run in them.
Circleville scored nine of the next 10 points, with Moore closing the run with a layup off a feed from Evan Justice, to trim its deficit to 56-52 with 1:15 remaining.
“We became more patient on offense in the second half and we really grinded and got some good looks at the basket,” Carpenter said. “We forced some turnovers with our defense that led to the run in the third quarter and then Ethan and Evan stepped up there during the fourth quarter.”
Carpenter was pleased with the effort the Tigers showed after a lackluster 67-37 season-opening loss to Liberty Union earlier in the week.
“We had a lot of positives compared to our first game against Liberty Union,” he said. “I was proud of the effort and energy our kids played with for the entire game, including when we got behind by double-digits a few times and battled back. We didn’t do that against Liberty Union.
“The next step is learning to make winning plays in crunch time, where you have an opportunity to win a game like this. It starts with understanding where we’re at defensively, angles we need to take on the switch and understand our spacing on offense.”
After starting the game hitting just 4 of their first 12 (33.3 percent) free throws, the Statesmen were able to convert at the stripe in the clutch, hitting 7 of their final 8 (87.5 percent) attempts to seal the win.
“That was the difference in the game,” Coach Roese said. “We really struggled in the first half, but our guys showed poise, kept competing and they knocked them down when we really needed them.
“This is the first live action we’ve had since way back in March, so I had no idea about our conditioning or what we’d look like against somebody else. I’m really proud of the way our guys competed.”
Roese led all scorers with 25 points for the Statesmen, Geddis tallied 18 points and six rebounds and Heidish added 12 points.
The win was the first for the Statesmen over the Tigers and the program has now defeated two of Pickaway County’s four public high schools (Westfall) in its history.
“We just want to continue and gain respect, because we have a good program with good kids that play the game hard and the right way,” Coach Roese said. “I’m thankful Coach Carpenter gave us the opportunity to come over here and play tonight.
“We’ve had a good relationship with Coach Carpenter going back to when he was at Amanda and we’ve had a good relationship with Circleville going back 4-to-5 years, starting with Coach (Tyler) Cassidy and scrimmaging them every year. We appreciate them giving us an opportunity to compete, because we think we can be pretty good if people give us that opportunity.”
Moore paced the Tigers with 14 points and six rebounds, Justice had 11 points and Craig Fleck added 10.
“We wanted to hold both Evan Justice and Craig Fleck to under 15 and I felt we did a pretty decent job against them,” Coach Roese said. “We wanted to get Fleck off the three-point line as much as possible. We had Holden guard Evan, and he did a great job of dogging him all night. We did a nice job switching and trapping him over the course of the game.”
With the uncertainty during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Tigers conducted senior night that included Riley Gibson taking the floor for tip-off and getting a nice round of applause from the crowd. Gibson, a three-year starter for the team who earned special mention All-Ohio honors in his sophomore season, is out for the year with an ACL injury.
“That kid worked so hard during the offseason,” Carpenter said. “Take the talent out of the equation, which Riley has plenty of, and the mentality, work ethic he had and he just craved getting better, and he did. For something to happen to him like that was really a punch in the gut, because he’s our leader and he can do so many different things.
“He continues to lead, he continues to come to practice and he tries to motivate our kids. It was a real special moment to let him be out there at the tip before his family and the fans, and we appreciate New Hope and the officials allowing us to do that and have Riley walk off the floor to a standing ovation.”
The Tigers (0-2) continue non-league play on Wednesday when they host Athens and the Statesmen (1-0) host Liberty Christian on Friday.
Carpenter wants the Tigers to continue growing and developing three freshmen they rely on over the course of a game night.
“We know we’re going to have some growing pains this season with playing some younger kids, but we still have four experienced varsity players on our roster and we need the older kids to work on being leaders for the younger players and helping them along,” he said.
New Hope 62,
NEW HOPE — Caleb Heidish 4-2-12, Marek McCallister 1-0-3, Holden Roese 7-7-25, Bradley Carothers 1-2-4, Donovan Geddis 7-4-18. Three-point goals — Holden Roese (4), Caleb Heidish (2), Marek McCallister. Total — 20-37 15-25 62.
CIRCLEVILLE — Evan Justice 3-2-11, Trevor Coleman 1-4-7, Briley Crimer 3-0-7, Ethan Moore 6-2-14, Max Brooks 2-1-5, Craig Fleck 2-4-10. Three-point goals — Evan Justice (3), Craig Fleck (2), Trevor Coleman, Briley Crimer. Total — 17-43 13-18 54.
Quarter scores 1 2 3 4 F
New Hope 17 13 11 21 62
Circleville 12 14 12 16 54
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