By Brad Morris
A defensive change allowed Miami Trace to hold Circleville without a field goal for 10 minutes and 42 seconds on Wednesday, giving it plenty of time to put together a decisive run to defeat the host Tigers 66-48 in a non-league tilt.
“Miami Trace is a very good basketball team and their combination of athleticism, height and length gave us some trouble with trying to score consistently,” Circleville coach Cody Carpenter said.
Andrew Guthrie paced the Panthers with 19 points and grabbed eight rebounds, and Isaiah Reisinger and Brady Armstrong followed with 12 points apiece.
The Panthers drilled a trio of three-pointers, two coming off the shooting hand of Reisinger, in the opening minutes to get out to an early 13-4 advantage before a large midweek crowd that was on hand to watch the two former South Central Ohio League rivals.
Circleville battled back, using seven points from Briley Cramer and a pair of baskets courtesy of Slater Search, to trim its deficit to 18-15 after a quarter of play.
“We took a couple of blows to start the game with Miami Trace getting out to a lead, but I was pleased with the way our guys responded to that adversity and battled back,” Carpenter said. “We bounced back after those first few blows, but we struggled with that later in the first half and for part of the second half, which was the difference in the game.”
Search opened up the second quarter with a layup and Cramer followed with a layup of his own and then canned a triple from the left wing to tie the score at 22-22 with 5:05 remaining before halftime.
“I’ve been scared of this game for the last three days, because I knew coming into tonight that Circleville has a young but extremely talented basketball team,” Miami Trace coach Ben Ackley said. “We were able to get off to a good start, but Cramer did a nice job of leading Circleville back into the game.”
That’s when the Panthers started to face guard the talented Circleville junior wing and kept a fresh defender on him for the remainder of the game.
“Cramer is an extremely talented player who does a nice job of driving to the basket and can also knock down the outside shot,” Ackley said. “We decided to start face guarding Cramer and switched two-to-three defenders on him, which is a luxury we have as a basketball team to keep a fresh player on a top scorer.
“Cramer was still able to get some shots and score a few points, but we wanted to really make him work for everything he got.”
The combination of Cramer being face guarded and Search heading to the bench with two fouls with 5:24 left in the first half allowed the Panthers to start a decisive 26-6 run.
Guthrie led the Panthers with six points and Armstrong added five during the quarter, allowing Miami Trace to build a 37-27 lead headed into halftime.
“We wanted to use Slater Search to guard Guthrie one-on-one so we could focus on limiting what Miami Trace’s guards could do on the perimeter,” Carpenter said. “We didn’t do a good job of coming off of screens and Miami Trace made 5 of 8 threes in the first half.”
Miami Trace picked up from where it left out by scoring 12 of the opening 13 points of the second half, paced by Guthrie scoring nine points, to take a 48-28 lead.
Nolan West ended Circleville’s field goal drought that included 10 missed shots and seven turnovers by nailing a three from the left wing with 2:53 left in the third quarter.
“We struggled executing on offense and that goes back to not following the game plan at times and how good of a basketball team Miami Trace is,” Carpenter said.
Cramer scored 18 of his game-high 23 points in the first half for the Tigers, Search accounted for 10 points and five rebounds and Preston Hulse scored all nine of his points in the fourth quarter.
“Briley is playing fantastic basketball right now and he got off to another good start tonight,” Carpenter said. “There are times when he plays so well that he carries us without trying to carry us.
“Miami Trace did a nice job of face guarding him and making shots tough to get with the adjustment that they made. We also need some other guys to step up in those circumstances when Briley takes up a couple of defenders and knock down shots. We missed a lot of shots tonight.”
Miami Trace held a 32-22 advantage on the glass and shot 25 of 48 (52 percent) compared to Circleville hitting 15 of 46 (32.6 percent) shots.
“Our guys did a nice job of executing our high-low game to create good shots around the basket and clean looks from the perimeter when we kicked the basketball out,” Ackley said. “This was a good win for us over a solid basketball team.
“The one area where I felt like we were lacking was committing too many turnovers (15), so we’ll need to work on doing a better job of taking care of the basketball this weekend.”
Miami Trace (9-1) resumes Frontier Athletic Conference action on Friday at McClain before traveling to Zane Trace (8-1) on Saturday for a marquee district matchup.
Circleville (6-5) travels to Hamilton Township for a Saturday matinee in its return to Mid-State League Buckeye Division competition.
Miami Trace 66,
MIAMI TRACE — Shay Salyers 1-0-2, Trey Robinette 1-0-2, Brady Armstrong 3-4-12, Isaiah Reisinger 5-0-12, Austin Boedeker 3-0-6, Bryson Sheets 3-0-6, Andrew Guthrie 6-7-19, Bryson Osborne 3-0-7. Three-point goals — Reisinger (2), Armstrong (2) and Osborne. Total — 25-48 11-15 66.
CIRCLEVILLE — Preston Hulse 3-2-9, Nolan West 1-1-4, Briley Cramer 6-10-23, Slater Search 4-2-10, Ed Kirk 1-0-2. Three-point goals — Hulse, West and Cramer. Total — 15-46 15-21 48.
Quarter scores 1 2 3 4 F
Miami Trace 18 19 13 16 66
Circleville 15 12 4 17 48