By JOHN HOWLEY / sportingpumpkin.com
OBETZ — Circleville kept league rival Hamilton Township under control from the get-go Saturday afternoon on the way to a 67-23 win.
The Tigers were led by senior Kenzie McConnell who had 17 rebounds and 16 points on the afternoon. Saturday’s effort came on the heels of a career-high 36 points in an overtime win over Logan Tuesday night.
“She’s just a fabulous player. She was first team all-state for a reason,” Circleville coach Steve Kalinoski said. “Her work ethic is unbelievable. She’s playing well right now, playing with a lot of confidence and that’s what we expect from her to lead this team and hopefully the rest of us follow.”
“That was kind of fun,” McConnell said of scoring 36 Tuesday. “They were ball pressuring and didn’t have any big bodies in the post so I knew I had to step up. In the end, my sister (Gabby) stepped up to hit that three (to force overtime), but I just did what I had to do for us to win.”
Saturday was the fourth win in-a-row for the Tigers after dropping a regular season game (to Alexander) for the first time in two seasons.
“We knew when we went to Alexander it was going to be a tough game and it didn’t go the way we wanted it to,” McConnell said. “We got to string together a couple of practices after our Logan game and we haven’t really been able to do that since we got quarantined. We’ve lost a lot of practice time, so we’ve been working really hard this week.”
The Tigers didn’t shoot as well as they would have liked Saturday — hitting 38 percent of their shots from the field — but did make up for it by grabbing 20 offensive rebounds as part of a 45-30 overall rebounding edge. McConnell grabbed 13 offensive boards herself.
Circleville (7-1, 3-0) got itself out to a strong lead by taking advantage of eight first-quarter turnovers from the Rangers to go up 18-4. CHS led 39-14 at halftime. By the end of the third quarter, the Tigers were up 51-15.
One benefit from Saturday’s game was the opportunity for the Tigers to get playing time for their younger players and work out some different combinations of players on the floor.
“Our JV haven’t got gotten to play a whole lot this year — whether on our end or other teams’ ends,” Kalinoski said. “We talked after our last game that we had three practices coming up and we’re playing a lot of games in a short period of time. We knew those three days were big practice days and our younger kids have worked hard those last three days. So, we wanted to get everybody in today and rest some of our older kids. At the same time, we’re still trying to get back in shape from being quarantined.”
The Tigers are busy with games on the schedule against Chillicothe and Bloom-Carroll this week before heading to West Chester Saturday to take on perennial Division I power Lakota West.
“We’re not there yet and we know that. I felt like we struggled shooting the ball from the perimeter today,” Kalinoski said. “That’s something we’re going to have do a better job of throughout the rest of the season. We’re not there yet but with playing a lot of games here in the next few weeks we hope to get back in the basketball shape we need to be in.”
Along with 16 from McConnell, eight other Tigers scored Saturday including Logan Jones putting in 10, Faith Yancey eight and Gabby McConnell and Jaylah Captain had seven each.
Next up on the schedule for the Tigers is a non-league game at Chillicothe Monday.
Circleville 67, Hamilton Township 23
Circleville — Faith Yancey 4-0-8, Logan Jones 5-0-10, Alaina Francis 1-2-4, Morgan Blakeman 3-1-7, Peyton Ford 2-0-5, Camille Hoop 1-0-2 Jordan Rhymer 1-0-3, Lily Winter 2-1-5, Jaylah Captain 3-0-7, Kenzie McConnell 6-4-16. Three-point goals — Ford, Rhymer, Captain. Total — 28-73 8-11 67.
Hamilton Township — Lannie Hunt 1-0-3, Brooklyn Bolen 2-0-6, Ziann Payne 0-2-2, Lilly Kasperzak 1-0-2, Haley Wells 1-0-2, Morgan Fannin 2-0-5, Lailoni Scarberry 1-0-3. Three-point goals — Hunt, Bolen (2), Fannin, Scarberry. Total — 8-41 2-4 23.
Quarter scores 1 2 3 4 F
Circleville 18 21 21 16 67
Hamilton Twp 4 10 1 8 23