CIRCLEVILLE — The start to Tuesday night’s basketball game couldn’t have gone much better for the Washington Blue Lions.
Washington hit eight of their first 10 shots to jump on host Circleville enroute to a 74-46 win.
But it was the effort on the defensive end that really impressed coach Shannon Bartruff.
“The big thing was we knew we had to guard,” Bartruff said. “I’m really proud of our defensive effort for four quarters.
“To hold that team to 46 points — they have six, seven, eight kids who play in their rotation, and they had a couple who were hurt tonight, but everybody can shoot the ball.
“It’s really the first team that we’ve played that really, really spreads the floor well, screens well, drives, kicks and can shoot well,” Bartruff said. “Camp is the (player) you’re trying to stop as much as you can and, for the most part, we did a pretty solid job on him tonight.”
Camp was limited to two baskets in the first half and 13 points for the game.
The Blue Lions jumped out 23-5 in the first quarter and led 41-17 at halftime.
Rebounding was another key for the Blue Lions, with 10 offensive boards in the first half and 16 for the game.
“Our offensive rebounding in the first half, really the entire game, was great,” Bartruff said. “Cameron Eckles, Jarett Patton, Griffin Shaw, C.J. Taylor all hit the glass hard. I thought that gave us a lot of energy — because we were getting put backs, extra possessions, extra shots — and it took energy out of them.”
WCH outrebounded the Tigers 44-30 on the night.
Eckles had 12, Shaw had eight and Max Knisley had seven
“For the most part, our kids did a great job boxing out and that allows us to get out and run,” Bartruff said.
The Tigers were never able to cut the Blue Lions’ lead as WCH added to its lead in the third and fourth quarters.
“For us to come out and have a run like we did in that first quarter, you’re waiting on that other team to make a run back at you and, especially the way they can shoot the basketball, I was worried about that, but I thought our kids did a great job staying focused for all four quarters,” Bartruff said. “That’s all we talked about at halftime was staying focused on our jobs, staying focused on talking on defense and we did a good job of that.
“To guard the way we did, to rebound the way we did, to share the basketball the way that we did tonight, I’m really, really proud of my team. This is a really good win for us.”
With 12 points in the first quarter, Eckles led the Blue Lions with 19 points Tuesday. Knisley, Patton and Shaw each put in 13.
Knisley was coming off a 36-point effort against Wheelersburg.
“Tonight what I love as much as anything from Max is the fact that he shared the ball. They ran guys at him and he found the open guy,” Bartruff said. “For us to get a win like we did against a really good Circleville team and him to have only 13 points shows we’re headed in the right direction.
“Other guys were stepping up. Max did a great job taking good shots when they were there and passing the basketball to our open guys and trusting them to make plays.”
• Washington was a 49-47 winner in the reserve game.
Richard Burns Jr. led the Blue Lions with 23 points while Blaise Tayese put in nine, Kenny Arboleda had six, Dillon Steward and Evan Upthegrove each had four and Austin Bailey had three.
Jake Mancini led the Tigera with 16 while Jay Styers had nine, Kaleb Spangler six, Jacob Rhymer five, Cameron Banks four, Caleb Smith three and Wes Ruff and Dalton Lynn each scored two points.
The Blue Lions, now 9-2 overall, will put their eight-game win streak on the line when they host Miami Trace Friday, Jan. 8, 2016. The j-v game starts at 6 p.m.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
W 23 18 18 15 — 74
C 5 12 16 13 — 46
Washington — Max Knisley 5-0-15, Jarett Patton 5-1-13, Evan Upthegrove 1-0-2, Kory Proby 2-3-7, C.J. Taylor 0-1-1, Kenny Upthegrove 1-0-2, Dillon Steward 2-0-4, Griffin Shaw 6-0-13, Cameron Eckles 9-1-19. Three-point goals — Knisley (3), Patton (2), Shaw. Total — 31-62 6-14 74.
Circleville — Smith 1-0-2, Warden 2-0-5, Cooper 1-0-3, Camp 5-2-13, Porter 3-2-9, Taylor 1-0-2, Lynn 0-1-1, Risner 2-1-5, Manson 3-0-6. Three-point goals — Warden, Camp, Cooper, Porter. Total — 18-55 6-14 46.