By Brad Morris
Circleville mixed a full-court and three-quarter court pressure to force Westfall into 13 turnovers during the first half and built a lead it would never relinquish on Thursday in a 53-31 non-league win over the visiting Mustangs to cap the girls basketball portion of the Horizon Holiday Classic.
“We wanted to dictate the tempo of the game and create some transition or scoring opportunities off of turnovers, so the girls did a nice job of mixing our defensive looks and doing some good things to get out to a lead,” Circleville coach Brian Bigam said.
“Faith Yancey is the quarterback of our defense up top and is a relentless player who really had a nice night on both ends of the floor.”
Morgan Blakeman led all scorers with 19 points for the Tigers, Faith Yancey contributed 15 points, six steals and three assists and Maddie Blakeman chipped in 10 points and four assists.
The Tigers held Westfall to 2 of 9 (22.2 percent) shooting during the opening quarter and forced eight turnovers to take an early 15-7 lead.
Morgan Blakeman was 3 of 5 shooting (60 percent) during the period in scoring seven points and Yancey chipped in six points.
“You can see the confidence that Morgan is playing with grow over the last three games and she’s settling back into the game after not playing last year,” Bigam observed. “We knew coming into the season that Morgan has the ability to score the basketball in bunches, and she helped get us off to a good start tonight.”
Circleville stretched its lead to 27-9 with 5:30 remaining in the second quarter on a three-pointer off the shooting hand of Isabelle Perini before settling for a 29-16 halftime advantage.
Westfall finished the game with 20 turnovers, compared to seven for Circleville. The Tigers were 21 of 47 (44.7 percent) from the field to the Mustangs hitting on just 8 of 35 (22.9 percent) attempts.
Paige Weiss had nine points and eight rebounds and Marianna Packer contributed six points to pace the Mustangs.
Westfall (1-11) resumes Scioto Valley Conference play on Tuesday when it hosts Huntington. Circleville (8-3) hosts unbeaten Bloom-Carroll (9-0) a week from today in a crucial Mid-State League Buckeye Division game to open the second round of league play.
“We know what it’s going to take to give ourselves an opportunity in the fourth quarter to defeat a very good team like Bloom-Carroll,” Bigam said. “We are going to have to be very disciplined on both ends of the floor and execute at a high level. I believe that’s something we are capable of if we can put things together.
“Hopefully the students and community come out and give us a nice home court advantage for a big league game.”
WESTFALL — Alyssa Wyman 1-2-5, Marianna Packer 2-0-6, Paige Weiss 1-6-9, Reese Moehl 2-0-4, Izzy Picklesimer 2-0-5, Adrian Moehl 0-2-2. Three-point goals — Packer (2), Wyman, Weiss and Picklesimer. Total — 8-35 10-12 31.
CIRCLEVILLE — Morgan Blakeman 7-0-19, Faith Yancey 5-5-15, Maddie Blakeman 5-0-10, Maddux Bigam 1-0-2, Isabelle Perini 1-0-3, Gabby McConnell 2-0-4. Three-point goals — Morgan Blakeman (5) and Perini. Total — 21-47 5-7 53.
Quarter scores 1 2 3 4 F
Westfall 7 9 6 9 31
Circleville 15 14 9 15 53