By Brad Morris
A hot start to the game by junior wing Gabby McConnell allowed Circleville to claim an early lead it would not relinquish on Friday in a 53-39 Mid-State League Buckeye Division win over host Logan Elm.
McConnell drained all five shots she attempted in the first quarter, with a trio of those coming from three-point range, to finish the period with 13 points and stake Circleville to an early 19-12 advantage.
“It was good to see Gabby come out here and really take charge,” Circleville coach Brian Bigam said. “She took it to the basket; she knocked down the three and she has that type of ability to take over like she did in the first quarter.
“Gabby allowed us to come out, play relaxed and to get out to a lead.”
The Tigers opened the second quarter on a 10-2 run, powered in part by two more baskets from McConnell, that Faith Yancey closed with a jumper to stretch the lead to 29-14 with 3:14 left until halftime.
Logan Elm held the Tigers scoreless for the rest of the quarter and closed its deficit down to 29-19 going into intermission on a steal and layup courtesy of Kiki Ingram.
The Braves cut their deficit down to nine points on three occasions in the third quarter but were unable to come any closer for the rest of the night.
McConnell led all scorers with 20 points, pulled down 10 rebounds and dished out five assists for the Tigers. Maddie Blakeman tallied 11 points, Morgan Blakeman had 10 points and Yancey contributed eight points and four steals.
Circleville held a 33-25 rebound advantage, including 11 offensive. The Braves finished the game with 22 turnovers, 10 of which came during the first quarter, while the Tigers had 20 turnovers.
“Logan Elm really competed hard and was very scrappy on defense, to its credit, but we have to do a better job of being stronger with the basketball,” Bigam said. “When we have someone get in trouble with the basketball, we need to come to their relief, and we didn’t do a very good job of that.”
The Tigers shot 21 of 52 (40.4 percent) to the Braves going 11 of 39 (28.2 percent).
“I felt like we did a pretty solid job of executing in our quarter court defense, but we had a couple of bullet points about how we wanted to handle Logan Elm defensively that we did not execute on at times,” Bigam said.
Ingram led the Braves with 15 points, five rebounds and four assists. Hannah Rhoads tallied 10 points and four rebounds and Kimmy Petty chipped in eight points.
“Kiki had a heck of a game, both on the offensive and defensive ends of the floor,” Logan Elm coach Jennifer Blue said. “She took it to the basket, got to the line and knocked down shots. She did a little of everything for us.
“Overall, I was pleased with the way our girls competed and battled, but we made some freshmen mistakes that we need to continue and work on. We have to do a better job of handling the basketball and cutting down on turnovers. We also need to do a better job of playing inbound defense.”
Both teams continue league play on Tuesday, as the Tigers (3-1, 2-1) host the Aces (3-2, 2-1) and the Braves (0-3, 0-3) travel to Liberty Union (1-3. 0-3).
Logan Elm 39
CIRCLEVILLE — Morgan Blakeman 4-0-10, Faith Yancey 4-0-8, Maddie Blakeman 5-1-11, Maddux Bigam 1-0-2, Gabby McConnell 7-3-20, Addisyn Ndayitwayeko 1-0-2. Three-point goals — Gabby McConnell (3), Morgan Blakeman (2). Total — 21- 52 4-10 53.
LOGAN ELM — Kimmy Petty 1-5-8, Hannah Rhoads 4-0-10, Enaja Fischer 1-0-2, Kiki Ingram 5-5-15, Kennedy Groff 0-1-1, Claire King 0-3-3. Three-point goals — Hannah Rhoads (2) and Kimmy Petty. Total — 11-39 14-19 39.
Quarter scores 1 2 3 4 F
Circleville 19 10 12 12 53
Logan Elm 12 7 11 9 39
Now open at 130 Crites Road in Circleville!