by JOHN HOWLEY /sportingpumpkin.com
AMANDA — Amanda-Clearcreek used the middle two quarters to build a lead on the way to beating visiting Circleville 47-39 Saturday.
Both teams had their struggles to start. The Aces were only 3-17 from the field in the opening period but forced the Tigers into nine turnovers in that span and led 8-7.
The Tigers scored the first two baskets of the second to lead 11-8, but the Aces tied it up with a three-pointer from Hailey Sowers and then outscored their guests 11-4 the rest of the way to lead 22-15 at the break.
“That’s the thing I love about coaching this group – they’re going to play so hard,” AC coach Tim Leist said. “That’s the one thing we’ve been able to do so far this year is force turnovers. Our girls play hard, they know what they’re doing, they’re in their spots, they’re where they need to be – most of the time.”
The Aces increased their lead to 34-21 after the third period to get their first win over the Tigers in eight tries.
“We challenged them. We said this is a great opportunity. We hadn’t beat Circleville in at least three years,” Leist said. “They had a great run the last couple of years and they still play as hard as anybody. We knew this was going to be a dogfight.”
AC’s last win over the Tigers was a 52-51 decision in the first part of the 2017-18 season.
Circleville finished the night with 21 turnovers and was outrebounded 39-29, with AC grabbing 17 offensive boards.
“We’ve been preaching taking care of the basketball and boxing out. That’s what we’ve been focusing on the last three practices. I felt like we got better but, boy, we didn’t show it tonight,” Circleville coach Steve Kalinoski said. “I thought the Amanda kids just outplayed us. I know they had a lot of offensive rebounds and that was a big part of the game, too. We didn’t box them out. We talk about it all the time and work on it all the time. We’re just not taking things we’re doing in practice fairly well into the games.
“Bottom line, I thought their kids played harder than us and deserved to win the basketball game tonight.”
The Aces were led by Emily Buckley with a game-high 18 points and got 11 from Sowers and 10 from Grace Davis, both sophomores.
“We needed that,” Leist said. “We challenged (Davis) this week. We said you need to step up and be aggressive going to the rim. She did a nice job there in the second quarter. She was going to the rim. We need that because we know teams are going to zone us and we know teams are going to key on Buckley.
“So it was nice to get that kind of contribution from other girls, just to believe in themselves because it’s a confidence thing with some of these girls. They’re still sophomores and still learning.”
Gabby McConnell led the Tigers with 12, Faith Yancey had 11 and Lily Winter put in eight.
Davis and Sara Sharp led the Aces with nine rebounds each while McConnell and Winter each grabbed eight for the Tigers.
The Aces (4-3, 2-2) are in non-league action Tuesday at the Columbus School for Girls. Circleville (2-4, 1-3) hosts Chillicothe Wednesday.
Amanda-Clearcreek 47, Circleville 39
Circleville — Faith Yancey 5-0-11, Logan Jones 2-0-5, Jordan Rhymer 1-0-3, Lily Winter 4-0-8, Gabby McConnell 3-4-12. Three-point goals — Yancey, Jones, Rhymer, McConnell (2). Total — 15-40 4-12 39.
Amanda-Clearcreek — Emily Buckley 7-2-18, Rachel Weaver 1-0-2, Megan Tooill 1-0-2, Hailey Sowers 4-2-11, Grace Davis 5-0-10, Sara Sharp 2-0-4. Three-point goals — Buckley (2), Spwers. Total — 20-56 4-9 47.
Quarter scores 1 2 3 4 F
Circleville 7 8 6 18 39
Amanda-Clearcreek 8 14 12 13 47