By Brad Morris
On an evening when the Circleville Tigers honored their two seniors, it was their youth that asserted themselves on offense in a 56-27 Mid-State League Buckeye Division win on Saturday over the visiting Logan Elm Braves.
Freshmen Faith Yancey and Gabby McConnell combined for 25 points and junior first-year starter Logan Jones contributed 12 points.
“We talk all the time that our offense goes through Kenzie McConnell, but for our team to win the league and make a tournament run we are going to need scoring from other people,” Circleville coach Steve Kalinoski said. “Kenzie understands the double teams and is a very good passer and our girls did a nice job of knocking down shots and putting some good spurts of basketball together. Having four players in double-figures was excellent.”
The Tigers jumped out to a 16-10 lead following a period of play, powered by five points from Gabby McConnell, and four points apiece from Kenzie McConnell and Jones.
Circleville dominated the second quarter of play to extend its lead to 33-16 at the break.
The Tigers held the Braves to just 3 of 18 (16.7 percent) shooting and on the other end finished the first half on a 15-4 run, highlighted by Gabby McConnell draining a pair of three-pointers in the final 45 seconds of the quarter, the second of which came from the top of the key to beat the halftime buzzer. The younger McConnell finished the period with eight points and Yancey contributed five.
Circleville shot 6 of 12 (50 percent) in the third quarter as it pushed its advantage to 47-24. Jones paced the Tigers in the period with six points.
Gabby McConnell finished the evening with 13 points and swatted three shots, Yancey tallied 12 points, and Kenzie McConnell chipped in 10 points and nine rebounds.
The Tigers honored seniors Kenzie McConnell and Jaylah Captain before the game. Captain, who suffered a season-ending ACL injury last month against Bloom-Carroll, scored the ceremonial first points of the game before leaving the floor to a nice hand while sharing plenty of hugs with her teammates.
“Kenzie and Jaylah are two great seniors, students, basketball players and people,” Kalinoski said. “Jaylah moved here from Teays Valley two years ago and if she was just moving to Circleville and didn’t play any sports she would have been a great addition to our school. An ACL injury is unfortunately part of sports and she’s been a big loss for us that we are still trying to recover from since she is such a good ball-handler, shooter, defender and leader.
“Kenzie is just an amazing player and I’ve been fortunate to coach two of those players here at Circleville with Casse Mogan and her. Kenzie is our all-time leading scorer, she rebounds the basketball, she is a great defender and passer. Both Kenzie (Ashland) and Jaylah (Wilmington) are going to college and will get it basically paid for between playing basketball and their great grades. It’s been a pleasure to coach those two young ladies, and they are going to be very successful in life with their hard work ethic.”
Brynn Griffith led Logan Elm (5-12, 4-8) with a double-double of 13 points and 14 rebounds.
The two Pickaway County rivals are slated to meet on Thursday in a sectional final.
Circleville (14-2, 10-0) is slated to host Liberty Union (11-4, 9-2) on Monday for a game featuring the top two teams in the league.
Logan Elm 27
LOGAN ELM — Josie Martin 1-0-2, Hannah Taylor 0-1-1, Riley Schultz 2-0-5, Anna Johnson 1-1-3, Sydney Fultz 1-0-3, Brynn Griffith 6-1-13. Three-point goals — Riley Schultz and Sydney Fultz. Total — 11-52 3-10 27.
CIRCLEVILLE — Faith Yancey 5-2-12, Logan Jones 4-4-12, Alaina Francis 1-0-2, Morgan Blakeman 1-0-2, Gabby McConnell 5-0-13, Payton Ford 1-0-3, Lily Winter 1-0-2, Kenzie McConnell 3-4-10. Three-point goals — Gabby McConnell (3) and Payton Ford. Total — 21-44 10-12 56.
Quarter scores 1 2 3 4 F
Logan Elm 10 6 8 3 27
Circleville 16 17 14 9 56
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