By JOHN HOWLEY / sportingpumpkin.com
CIRCLEVILLE — With the first half was drawing to a close, Kenzie McConnell put her name at the top of the Circleville basketball record book as her Tigers defeated Hamilton Township 60-19 Tuesday night.
The senior took a pass from Logan Jones and put up a shot off the glass to get to 25 points on the night and 1,428 for her career to surpass Casse Mogan as the all-time leading scorer in Circleville basketball history. With three more in the second half, she now has 1,431 career points.
“My teammates were incredible,” McConnell said. “That was our game plan going in, we wanted to get it out of the way tonight so we can focus on Saturday. They were just awesome — we came in and executed the game plan perfectly, got it in to me and helped me get that and all my past teammates helped me, too.”
McConnell has been the leading scorer for the Tigers each of her seasons with 275 points as a freshman, 409 as a sophomore and 481 as a junior. She leads the team this year with 266 points through 14 games.
“I wouldn’t be here without my teammates. They’ve been great,” she said. “I’ve played with so many great guards like Brie (Kendrick), Jaylah (Captain), everyone else – they’ve been so awesome. I’ve been so lucky and thankful that I’ve been able to play with them.”
Along the way, McConnell has also passed a couple folks she knows well in her father, Luke (1,092 points) and her mother, Stephanie (1,121 points).
Mogan, a 2008 CHS graduate, now sits second all-time for the Tigers with Aaron Kanitz (CHS Class of 1997) third at 1,265.
“With Casse Mogan, that’s one I’ve been after for a while. She’s had so many records here and I know that she was such a great player,” McConnell said. “To be able to pass her and take her spot – that’s cool.”
Coach Steve Kalinoski coached both players through their record-setting careers but had to watch McConnell break the record from home as he’s quarantined with the Coronavirus.
“I’ve been fortunate to coach Casse Mogan and Kenzie McConnell,” Kalinoski said. “Who would have thought Casse’s record would have been broken? Kenzie came along and her work ethic is unbelievable. She works hard, doesn’t say much and just goes about her game. And she’s consistent in her all-around game.
“She’s been a fun kid to coach and made my job a lot easier.”
Kalinoski said the two players really can’t be compared since Mogan was a guard and McConnell plays the post, but they do have their similarities.
“They make the other players around them better,” he said. “They’re just two kids who battle each and every night and they’ve been a pleasure to coach.”
With Kalinoski and other members of the Tigers staff sidelined, former Tigers boys basketball coach Eric Evans and Kyle Uhrig, a former varsity coach himself, were on the sidelines guiding the Tigers Tuesday.
“It was enjoyable,” Evans said of being back on the CHS bench.
He said they told the administration they would do whatever they could in this situation. “We’re concerned with making sure the kids can still play.”
The Tigers played a solid defensive game holding the Rangers scoreless for the first 10 minutes and outrebounded HT 44-24 — led by McConnell with 11 and Gabby McConnell with eight to go with eight points.
Morgan Blakeman and Faith Yancey each had seven points for CHS.
“I’m really proud of the kids. It’s a tough situation but they responded really well and played a good, solid basketball game tonight,” Evans said.
“We knew it was out there,” he added about Kenzie McConnell going for the record. “I’m proud of all the kids – it’s certainly a great individual accomplishment, but it’s also a team accomplishment, too.
“We did a great job looking to find her early, get her post touches, she did a great job of getting into position where she can score and I just thought our attention to detail and following the game plan was really, really good tonight.”
The Tigers (12-2, 8-0) have Fairfield Union up next with a Saturday afternoon game scheduled. Grabbing a win over the Falcons (6-1, 5-0) would be a big boost to the Tigers’ main goal this season.
“Our first goal is to win the league title,” McConnell said. “We’ve got some big games coming up with Fairfield and Liberty (Union), so we’ve got to take care of that and then the next step is the tournament.”
All-Time Leading Scorers
Circleville 60, Hamilton Township 19
Hamilton Township — Brooke Bolen 0-1-1, Ziann Payne 2-1-6, Haley Wells 1-0-2, Morgan Fannin 2-0-4, Lailoni Scarberry 1-1-3, Marisa Moe 1-0-3. Three-point goals — Payne, Moe. Total — 7-38 3-10 19.
Circleville — Faith Yancey 2-3-7, Logan Jones 2-0-4, Aliana Francis 1-0-2, Morgan Blakeman 3-0-7, Gabby McConnell 4-0-8, Payton Ford 1-1-4, Kenzie McConnell 10-8-28. Three-point goals — Blakeman, Ford. Total — 23-51 12-20 60.
Quarter scores 1 2 3 4 F
Hamilton Twp 0 7 9 3 19
Circleville 21 16 10 13 60
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