By JOHN HOWLEY / sportingpumpkin.com
CIRCLEVILLE — Logan Elm came out focused as the Braves got off to a strong start on the way to taking down host Circleville 54-42 Friday night.
“We moved the ball well offensively. We were able to get to the basket early tonight and got some easy ones for us and that got us going a little bit,” LE coach Doug Stiverson said.
The Braves (4-0, 3-1) went 8-12 from the field in the first quarter and used five Circleville turnovers to get out in front 19-7.
“They defend very well. They get up in the passing lane,” Circleville coach Cody Carpenter said. “As soon as we caught the ball, we put the ball on the floor because of their pressure. But then we weren’t going anywhere with it.
“It’s what we do after the turnover. I didn’t feel like we got back well enough in the first quarter and it led to too many transition buckets.”
The Braves increased their lead to as many as 17 points in the second period before ending the half up 34-19.
LE senior Isaac Ward had 13 points in the first half and added eight more in the third quarter on the way to a game-high 25.
“He’s been a great leader for our basketball team, and not just on game nights. In practice he’s the most vocal kid that we have and really gets our team going in practice and it starts with our preparation,” Stiverson said. “He does a great job getting our guys ready and focused and when you do that in practice, it shows in games. He did a great job of getting to the basket tonight and getting some easy ones for himself.”
The Tigers used strong free throw shooting in the fourth quarter, going 8-10 from the stripe, to have a 13-9 advantage in the final period.
“Tonight, we didn’t fold. We continued to fight and continued to grind. When we did the things that they were coached to do, we had some success with it,” Carpenter said. “There in the second (quarter) and second half, we were catching it on jump stops and squaring up – just simple triple threat middle school basketball. It allowed us to see the floor better and it allowed us to get better angles. When we started coming downhill and attacking the rim, we got much better looks.”
Logan Elm committed only four turnovers in the game.
“That’s a key for our basketball team,” Stiverson said. “I think last year we averaged only eight or nine turnovers a game. That’s what we have to rely on — we have to rely on getting shots every time down, especially with our size. When you make good passes, you get good shots.”
Playing their second game in a week after not being able to practice for most of December may have impacted the Braves’ second half performance. After shooting 54 percent from the field in the first half, LE’s percentage fell to 24 percent in the second.
“We might have been a little bit tired tonight. At times we settled a little more the second half than we did in the first,” Stiverson said. “We’ve got to be a little more patient at times. Sometimes when you get a lead, you start to play a little bit faster and do some things you don’t normally do.”
Even though the Braves are working their way back after a three-week layoff, Carpenter knew the Tigers would have their hands full with LE.
“They’re the best team in the league for a reason, they’re ranked in the state for a reason. They’ve got four kids who have four years’ experience. We just wanted to be able to contain, didn’t want to do anything crazy defensively, we wanted to grind it out offensively,” Carpenter said. “Unfortunately we came down and one pass … that led to their transition buckets. For three quarters I felt like we played well, we won the second half, it was just that first quarter that killed us.”
Along with Ward’s 26, the Braves added nine from Braylen Baker and six from Gabe Chalfin.
Ethan Moore led the Tigers with 12 while Ian Warden had nine and Briley Cramer had eight.
The Tigers ended the night with a 32-25 rebounding edge led by Moore pulling down seven and Craig Fleck six. Chalfin led the Braves with eight rebounds.
Logan Elm returns to action Tuesday night hosting Liberty Union while the Tigers travel to Bloom-Carroll on Thursday.
Konnor Starkey capped a 16-point effort with the game-winning three as time expired in a 36-33 win for Logan Elm in the JV game.
Garrett Summers added eight for the Braves, Brody Sabine had seven, Landon Long had three and Drew Tomlinson added two.
Winston Jones led Circleville with nine, Nolan West had six, Matthew Bradley had four, Kraig Foster and Preston Hulse each had three, Slater Search, Avery Ferrell and Parker Kidwell each had two and Scottie Moats and Angelo Travis each had one.
Logan Elm 54, Circleville 42
Logan Elm — Isaac Ward 10-4-25, Braylen Baker 3-3-9, Jason Sailor 1-0-3, Trace Smith 1-3-5, Gabe Chalfin 2-1-6, Tanner Holbert 2-0-6. Three-point goals — Ward, Sailor, Chalfin, Holbert (2). Total — 19-49 11-15 54.
Circleville — Evan Justice 2-3-7, Briley Cramer 3-1-8, Ethan Moore 3-6-12, Craig Fleck 2-2-6, Ian Warden 4-1-9. Three-point goals — Cramer. Total — 14-38 13-16 42.
Quarter scores 1 2 3 4 F
Logan Elm 19 15 11 9 54
Circleville 7 12 10 13 42