Circleville turned to its defense on Wednesday and held host Miami Trace to only nine field goals on its way to a 39-27 non-league win.
The Tigers (13-3) earned their third win in the last five days and stretched their winning streak to eight games, as they try to position themselves for a solid seed in the rugged district tournament field next month that includes three schools (Fairland, Unioto and Sheridan) ranked in the top 10 of the state, in addition to defending district champion Warren.
Circleville shot 17 of 41 (41.5 percent) from the field compared to Miami Trace connecting on only 9 of 39 (23 percent) attempts.
“It was a tough, physical game,” Circleville coach Brian Bigam said. “I was super proud of how the girls gritted it out for their third game in five days.”
Maddie Blakeman paced the Tigers with 12 points to go with six rebounds, Morgan Blakeman contributed 10 points and four assists, Faith Yancey had eight points and Gabby McConnell accounted for seven points, nine rebounds and four assists.
The Tigers jumped out to a 13-5 lead after a period of play, thanks in part to Morgan Blakeman knocking down three field goals, including a three-pointer, and Yancey scoring a pair of baskets.
Circleville extended its lead to 22-12 at halftime, but Miami Trace came out in the third quarter and trimmed its deficit to just 25-21 with 3:48 to play in the period.
The Tigers responded with 10 straight points to put away the win over their former South Central Ohio League rival.
McConnell connected on a momentum-shifting three from the right wing and Yancey scored a pair of baskets to help give the Tigers a 33-21 entering the final period that Maddie Blakeman started with a layup to end the run.
“I was proud of how our girls responded,” Bigam said. “Faith got to the basket for us a few times and Maddie and Gabby knocked down a couple of threes to extend our lead back.”
Hillery Jacobs led all scorers with 16 points and Jessee Stewart added seven for the Panthers (11-7).
The Tigers resume Mid-State League Buckeye Division play on Friday with a trip to Amanda-Clearcreek (9-7, 4-5), which won the first meeting 40-39 in December.
“We turn around and play an extremely talented Amanda-Clearcreek team that got us at our place with a day to prepare,” Bigam said. “My girls have to dig down deep and find 32 more minutes in them and lay it out there on Friday.”
Circleville 39, Miami Trace 27
CIRCLEVILLE — Morgan Blakeman 4-0-10, Faith Yancey 4-0-8, Maddie Blakeman 5-1-12, Maddux Bigam 1-0-2, Gabby McConnell 3-0-7. Three-point goals — Morgan Blakeman (2), Maddie Blakeman and McConnell. Total — 17-41 1-2 39.
MIAMI TRACE — Kaelin Pfeifer 1-0-2, Hillary McCoy 1-0-2, Jessee Stewart 2-2-7, Hillery Jacobs 5-4-16. Three-point goals — Jacobs (2) and Stewart. Total — 9-39 6-6 27.
Quarter scores 1 2 3 4 F
Circleville 13 9 11 6 39
Miami Trace 5 7 9 6 27