by JOHN HOWLEY / sportingpumpkin.com
ASHVILLE — Teays Valley held off a late charge from visiting Circleville to post a 43-32 Mid-State League Buckeye Division win Friday night.
After holding the Tigers scoreless in the first quarter, Teays Valley took a 22-7 lead into halftime.
The Vikings had the lead up to 28-11 in the third before Circleville scored the final seven points of the period and first basket of the fourth to close to eight points.
It looked like the Vikings had it back in hand as they were aggressive going to the hoop, getting a couple baskets and some free throws to go up 38-22 with 4:47 on the clock.
Circleville didn’t give in and scored the next 10 points — eight coming in a 60-second span and aided by forcing three turnovers.
That run made it a six-point game (38-32) with a little more than two minutes to go.
The Vikings were able to stop the CHS run and scored the last five points of the game at the free throw line to finish out the win.
“I told them at halftime that you’re going to see a different Circleville team come out here. I was glad that we weathered the storm,” TV coach Trevor Younkin said.
He said, after scouting the Tigers a couple of times, they took a chance with their defensive plan to start the game and it paid off.
“They’ve got so many weapons that get down hill, their speed and ability to get to the hole. We did a different type of defense, we call it our plug defense where we take Kennedy (Younkin) off a player and put her right in the center,” coach Younkin said. “It prevents them from getting their layups. We gambled a little bit. If Faith (Yancey) got hot, it would have pulled us out of it.”
“We just didn’t shoot it well,” Circleville coach Brian Bigam said. “We settled for a lot of threes, but I’ve got good three-point shooters on my team. That was a nice game plan out of them but we didn’t shoot the ball well.”
Alyssa Horsley led the Vikings with 17 points Friday, eight in the fourth quarter, and Abby Tier added 10.
Only three players made it into the scoring column Friday for Circleville with Gabby McConnell scoring 13, Yancey 12 and Maddie Blakeman seven.
“I told them after the game that I don’t think we’ll ever shoot that poorly,” Bigam said. “I told them I was super proud of them how we fought back – done 16 and we cut it all the way to six. That obviously took a lot of energy to get to the point and we ran out of it.”
The Tigers (5-3, 3-3) wrap up the first half of league play Tuesday night hosting Hamilton Township.
The Vikings (6-1, 5-1) are back in action at 8 p.m. Saturday playing Gahanna-Lincoln in the nightcap of the seven-game Battle in the 614 Showcase at Ohio Dominican. Not only is the game a good test for the Vikings, Gahanna is a member of the Ohio Capital Conference – which the Vikings join in the 2025-26 season — and a potential tournament opponent.
“We’re leaving the Mid-State League in two years, and we want to be playing (OCC schools). Last year we had to go play in the Central District (tournament) against Newark,” Younkin said. “Scheduling Newark, scheduling Gahanna, these are game we want. And you’re only going to get better if you play better teams. Gahanna is a great, solid team.
“We want to see other weaknesses we have. We want to be challenged by their speed and athleticism, because, come tournament time, if we don’t get our girls ready for that, we won’t get past sectionals.”
Teays Valley 43, Circleville 32
Circleville — Faith Yancey 5-2-12, Maddie Blakeman 3-0-7, Gabby McConnell 3-6-13. Three-point goals — Blakeman, McConnell. Total — 11-8-32.
Teays Valley — AbbyTier 4-1-10, Kayla Cline 2-0-6, Kennedy Younkin 1-2-4, Alyssa Horsley 5-6-17, Gabrielle Watkins 2-2-6. Three-point goals — Tier, Cline (2), Horsley. Total — 14-11-43.
Quarter scores 1 2 3 4 F
Circleville 0 7 11 14 32
Teays Valley 12 10 6 15 43