By Jacob Merideth
OBETZ — The only charity that donates to you is the foul line in basketball and it paid off handsomely for the Circleville Tigers on Friday in a 39-31 Mid-State League Buckeye Division win over host Hamilton Township.
The Rangers actually made four more field goals than their guests, but the Tigers did most of their damage with a 23 of 32 (71.9 percent) performance at the stripe, compared to HT hitting on only 3 of 9 (33.3 percent) attempts.
Hamilton Township (9-13, 4-10) saw the better of the action in the first quarter, using six points from Jersey Baker and a three-ball courtesy of Morgan Fannin, on its way to an 11-6 lead.
“Our zone was not very good early on and Hamilton Township found a person to make a play,” Circleville coach Brian Bigam said. “I give them credit for coming out and executing.”
The Tigers started to drive the basketball during the second quarter, with a barrage of whistles to follow.
Maddie Blakeman knocked down a pair of field goals and drained two free throws to lead the Tigers with seven points in the period, where they were 6 of 8 (75 percent) at the line and grabbed a 19-14 lead going into the break.
“We started to drive the ball in the second quarter, and it paid off for us,” Bigam said. “Going into the half with the lead was huge for us to get the momentum back.”
The Rangers cut the CHS lead down to a point early in the fourth quarter, but the Tigers were able to use the free throw line to earn their 10th league victory of the season and 17th overall.
Circleville made just three field goals in the second half, all in the third quarter, but shot 14 of 20 (70 percent) at the free throw line.
“I was proud as it was one of our better free throw shooting games and it was a big key down the stretch for us,” Bigam said.
Maddie Blakeman led the Tigers with 14 points and Morgan Blakeman had eight of her 13 points in the fourth quarter, all at the free throw line. Faith Yancey contributed seven points and Gabby McConnell added five, once again all at the stripe.
Fannin and Baker paced the Rangers with 11 points apiece.
The Tigers (17-4, 10-4) tied Bloom-Carroll (13-8, 10-4) for second in the league, one game behind champion Teays Valley.
Circleville closes regular-season play on Friday when it hosts Frontier Athletic Conference champion Jackson for a make-up game. Tip-off is at 5:30 p.m., followed by the boys basketball team entertaining Hamilton Township in their final game of the regular slate.
Hamilton Township 31
CIRCLEVILLE — Morgan Blakeman 2-8-13, Faith Yancey 2-3-7, Maddie Blakeman 3-7-14, Gabby McConnell 0-5-5. Three-point goals — Morgan Blakeman and Maddie Blakeman. Total —7-39 23-32 39.
HAMILTON TOWNSHIP — Alexis Wooten 1-0-3, Morgan Fannin 4-0-11, Jersey Baker 5-0-11, Ziann Payne 1-3-6. Three-point goals — Fannin (3), Wooten and Payne. Total — 11-38 3-9 31.
Quarter scores 1 2 3 4 F
Circleville 6 13 7 13 39
Hamilton Twp. 11 3 8 9 31