FRANKFORT — The Washington Lady Blue Lions were one of only two teams during the regular season to beat the Circleville Lady Tigers.
The Lady Lions traveled to Circleville on Dec. 30 to take on the then 9-0 Lady Tigers.
Washington emerged with a 43-41 victory that at the time evened the Lady Lions’ record at 6-6.
After that setback, Circleville went on to lose just one more game, that to Teays Valley. The Lady Tigers entered Saturday’s Division II Sectional championship game against the Lady Blue Lions ranked No. 7 in the State in Division II, with a sparkling record of 21-2.
Washington was coming off perhaps its second-biggest win of the season, 43-29 over the McClain Lady Tigers in the Sectional semifinals. This coming after McClain had beaten Washington twice during the regular season.
After the tournament game against McClain, Washington head coach John Persinger noted that Circleville may have taken his team lightly back on the night before New Year’s Eve. He further stated that Circleville would not take his squad lightly again.
Indeed, the Circleville Lady Tigers did not take the Lady Blue Lions lightly as they ended Washington’s season with a 45-33 victory for a Sectional championship Saturday at Adena High School.
Circleville advances to the District semifinals where they will face the No. 1 seed out of the Logan Sectional, Vincent Warren, Thursday at 8 p.m. at Southeastern High School.
Washington ends the 2015-16 season with a record of 10-14. The Lady Lions finished 5-9 in the SCOL, sixth in the SCOL.
The Sectional title is Circleville’s first since 2008.
Washington freshman Hannah Haithcock tied for game high scoring honors with Anya Bingman of Circleville, each with 14 points.
Seniors Alexis Gray and Jaycie McRoberts both had seven points for Washington.
Washington senior Wendy Hawk scored two points, but, was injured on the play. She was able to return to action, but could not have been considered at 100 percent.
Lili Kawaski scored 11 points for Circleville and Jordin Blakeman had nine points.
After an early bucket from Circleville, Washington had four points from Haithcock and two from Hawk to take a 6-2 lead.
At this point, Circleville went on to finish the first quarter on an 11-0 run to take a 13-6 lead.
After early turnovers by both teams in the second quarter, McRoberts hit a three-pointer and Gray had a steal and lay-up to pull Washington to within two points. Gray was fouled and converted the throw to make it 13-12 with six minutes to play in the first half.
Taylor Smith and Haithcock both scored for Washington to make the score 21-16 in favor of Circleville at the half.
Haithcock continued to make her presence felt on the court with back-to-back buckets to start the third period, making it a 21-20 game 90 seconds in. The Lady Lions would not get that close again.
Circleville scored six unanswered points to go up, 27-20.
Gray went to the line and missed two free throws, but Washington got the rebound and Gray scored.
The teams traded scores until Circleville hit a pair of free throws to make it 33-24 with just over 2:30 to play in the third quarter.
Haithcock had one more bucket in the third and, as time expired, Circleville led 36-26 with eight minutes to play.
Unfortunately for the Lady Lions, they would hit just one basket in the fourth quarter. They did make 5 of 7 shots from the free throw line in the final period.
Circleville began the fourth with a 6-0 run for a 42-26 lead.
McRoberts scored near the three-minute mark for the lone basket for the Lady Lions in the fourth.
Circleville wound up scoring two more points than Washington in the fourth for the 45-33 final.
“Court House is a scrappy and gritty basketball team that we have a lot of respect for,” Circleville head coach Brian Bigam said. “We forced Court House to come out to guard us and created some spacing. We were able to find Lili inside, and she did a great job of finishing and also rebounding.
“We wanted to make Haithcock’s life miserable, because their whole offense revolves around trying to get her the basketball,” Bigam said. “We did a good job of making her work for every point she scored. Every time she got the ball in there, we wanted to surround her with people to make her work.
“I also felt like we did a nice job of forcing them to shoot the ball from outside to try and beat us,” Bigam said.
“Wendy is a huge part of our defense in the middle of that 3-2 zone we play,” Washington head coach John Persinger said. “One of our goals was to get the ball down inside and make something happen. She did that and scored, but turned her ankle.
“It seemed like we were a little deflated after that,” Persinger said. “We could not run an offense. They were not pressuring us. They were playing a man-to-man defense. A soft defense, probably because of Hannah. We just had all kinds of trouble handling that.
“We didn’t have a good showing, offensively,” Persinger said. “The way we lost, not playing our best basketball, that bothers me. Our defense didn’t have the enthusiasm we’ve had in the past.
“Before this game, we had a three-game winning streak,” Persinger said. “We played well and that was fun. That’s what we’ll try and remember.”
Persinger spoke about his three seniors, Wendy Hawk, Alexis Gray and Jaycie McRoberts.
“I’ve been around these three seniors since they were in the seventh grade,” Persinger said. “Wendy is the best young lady in the whole world.
“Jaycie McRoberts is a good shooter, a good driver,” Persinger said. “She’s just a lot of fun: Miss Personality.
“This was Alexis Gray’s first year playing on the varsity after three years on the j-v team,” Persinger said. “I thought she had an excellent year. She did everything we wanted her to. They are just three great young ladies. I’ll miss them personally.”
Washington had one played accorded All-SCOL honors. Hannah Haithcock was named First Team, All-SCOL for 2015-16.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
W 6 10 10 7 — 33
C 13 8 15 9 — 45
WASHINGTON — Alexis Gray 2-3-7; Jaycie McRoberts 2 (1)-0-7; Savannah Wallace 0-0-0; Hannah Haithcock 6-2-14; Wendy Hawk 1-0-2; Kassidy Hines 0-0-0; Tabby Woods 0-0-0; Maddie Jenkins 0-0-0; Ally Funari 0-0-0; Taylor Smith 1-0-2; Maddy Garrison 0-0-0; Bre Taylor 0-1-1. TOTALS — 12 (1)-6-33. Free throw shooting: 6 of 12 for 50 percent. Three-point field goals: McRoberts. Combined field goal shooting: 13 of 34 for 38 percent. Turnovers: 15.
CIRCLEVILLE — Avery Delong 0-0-0; Bryce Delong 0-2-2; Katie Galloway 0-0-0; Anya Bingman 3 (2)-2-14; Hannah Robinson 0-0-0; Lili Kawaski 5-1-11; Mallory Comer 1-3-5; Shayna Hoop 0-0-0; Morgan Bircher 0 (1)-0-3; Abby Keaton 0-0-0; Jordin Blakeman 3-3-9; Katie McIlory 0-1-1. TOTALS — 12 (3)-12-45. Free throw shooting: 12 of 17 for 71 percent. Three-point field goals: Bingman, 2; Bircher. Combined field goal shooting: 15 of 38 for 39 percent. Turnovers; 8.
Reach Chris Hoppes at 740-335-3611, ext. 1104, or on Twitter @choppes1
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