It was an early season match-up of two fine programs when the Lady Panthers of Miami Trace hosted the Lady Tigers of Circleville before a nice crowd Tuesday evening.
Last season, Miami Trace won the South Central Ohio League and a total of 21 games.
Circleville made it all the way to the District finals last season.
Tuesday, Miami Trace had to overcome some very cold shooting and thanks to a 17-0 run in the third quarter, they were able to defeat Circleville, 44-32.
Freshman Shaylee McDonald led Miami Trace in scoring with 11 points.
Circleville senior Jordin Blakeman was the game’s leading scorer with 14 points.
Junior Victoria Fliehman had 10 points for Miami Trace and junior Tanner Bryant scored eight.
Sophomore Cassidy Lovett led Miami Trace with eight rebounds.
Fliehman and senior Samantha Ritenour each had seven rebounds.
Miami Trace’s defense helped cause 21 Circleville turnovers.
Miami Trace had 12 turnovers.
“We’re explosive when we do things the right way,” Miami Trace head coach Ben Ackley said. “We can score very quickly and in bunches. I thought that we did a good job early. The points almost came too easily the first couple of minutes.
“Then, we had an extended stretch where we just couldn’t buy a basket,” Ackley said. “I didn’t think we were patient enough at times on offense. This group is still learning to play together. There were times tonight when we had a freshman, two sophomores and two juniors on the floor. We’re still very young. The nucleus of this team didn’t get to play together this summer, so, we’re learning on the job right now.”
“We scouted them on Saturday,” Circleville head coach Steve Kalinoski said. “We knew they were a team that likes to get out and go. We knew we had to get back and stop the break and get them in a half-court game, which I thought we did in the first half.
“They jumped out on us 8-0, but we responded well, got back in the game and took the lead,” Kalinoski said. “I thought our kids gained a little confidence with that. We were real proud of our defense in the first half. We played extremely well. We thought we had some good looks on the offensive end. We could have easily been up eight or 10 at the half.”
The game began with Miami Trace taking an 8-0 lead in the first three minutes of play.
Circleville responded with a 7-0 run to close out the quarter down by one.
After the initial scoring spurt, Miami Trace went cold from the field. The Lady Panthers were 0 of 8 in the second quarter. Three free throws kept them from going scoreless during that time.
Miami Trace was just 3 of 23 from the field in the first half for an anemic 13 percent.
Circleville did not capitalize as they might have liked, hitting 2 of 10 shots in the second quarter, outscoring Miami Trace 6-3 to take a 13-11 halftime lead.
Miami Trace tied the game early in the third quarter, but Circleville held an 18-15 lead with 5:23 to play in the third.
At this point, Miami Trace put together what would wind up being a 17-0 run to take a 32-18 lead with 1:16 to play in the third quarter.
Hanna Reisinger got it started for the Lady Panthers, converting the old-fashioned three-point play.
A steal and bucket by Bryant was followed by a free throw from Bryant, then a three-point basket from McDonald.
After a Circleville turnover, Bryant fed Lovett for a lay-up.
McDonald scored again, and another Circleville turnover led to a basket from junior Morgan Miller.
Another Miami Trace steal created a situation for McDonald to score again, making it 32-18.
Circleville scored twice in the final minute to trail 32-22 after three.
“We told the girls at halftime that we couldn’t let them get a big run on us, which they did,” Kalinoski said. “We tried to get a couple of timeouts, but we just couldn’t stop the bleeding. We know they’re a very good basketball team. We respect what they do over here. We think we’re a very good basketball team, too.”
“We challenged them at halftime to come out and create some offense from our defense,” Ackley said. “I thought we did a good job of that early in the third quarter.
“We want to get up and down the floor,” Ackley said. “We condition our kids very hard. Both games that we’ve played, we felt like our conditioning became a factor in the third quarter. When you have Cassidy Lovett and Hanna Reisinger and Tanner Bryant and Victoria Fleihman and Shaylee McDonald out front guarding, it makes life tough. Even when they break the press, even when they score, we want to make sure (our opponent) is working as hard as they can work for everything they get.”
With a basket by Blakeman and one from Katie McIlroy, Circleville cut the lead down to six, 34-28 with just over five minutes remaining.
McDonald hit another three and Fliehman scored to stretch the Lady Panthers’ lead to 11 at 39-28.
Blakeman and then Morgan Bircher scored to cut the deficit to seven, 39-32 with 1:32 to play.
The Lady Panthers scored the final five points of the game to post the 44-32 victory.
“We just have to do a better job of putting the ball in the basket,” Kalinoski said. “When kids score, they play even harder on the defensive end. During that stretch, their pressure bothered us. They caused numerous turnovers and got themselves a big lead.
“Our kids didn’t quit,” Kalinoski said. “We were down by (14) and we cut it to six. I’m proud of the kids’ effort throughout the game.”
“Circleville has a First Team, All-District player in Blakeman,” Ackley said. “I thought Hanna Reisinger did a good job on her tonight. Circleville had a good game plan and they are very well coached. I’m pleased we got the win. We still have a lot of things to work on.”
Circleville (0-2) is home against Amanda Clearcreek Thursday.
Miami Trace (2-0) opens the final season of the South Central Ohio League with a game at Clinton-Massie Saturday. The j-v game starts at noon.
Circleville won Tuesday’s j-v game, 31-27.
Perini had 13 to lead the Lady Tigers. Kendrick added 11.
Becca Ratliff scored 13 to lead Miami Trace.
Olivia Wolffe, Aubrey Schwartz and Lena Steele each scored four and Shania Villaruel added two points. Aubrey McCoy, Tori Evans and Grace Bapst also played for Miami Trace.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
MT 8 3 21 12 — 44
C 7 6 9 10 — 32
MIAMI TRACE — Olivia Wolffe 0-0-0; Cassidy Lovett 2-0-4; Hanna Reisinger 3-1-7; Shaylee McDonald 2 (2)-1-11; Morgan Miller 1-0-2; Victoria Fliehman 1 (1)-5-10; Tanner Bryant 3-2-8; Samantha Ritenour 0-2-2. TOTALS — 12 (3)-11-44. Free throw shooting: 11 of 16 for 69 percent. Three-point field goals: McDonald, 2; Fliehman. Three-point field goal shooting: 3 of 15 for 20 percent. Combined field goal shooting: 15 of 51 for 29 percent. Turnovers: 12. Rebounds: 35 (10 offensive). Assists: 10. Steals: 13.
CIRCLEVILLE — Avery DeLong 0-0-0; Bryce DeLong 0-0-0; Tori Bircher 0-0-0; Mallory Conner 0-0-0; Shayna Hoop 2-04-; Morgan Bircher 2 (2)-2-12; Hannah Robinson 0-0-0; Jordin Blakeman 7-0-14; Katie McIlroy 1-0-2. TOTALS — 12 (2)-2-32. Free throw shooting: 2 of 3 for 67 percent. Three-point field goals: M. Bircher, 2. Three-point field goal shooting: 2 of 13 for 15 percent. Combined field goal shooting: 14 of 42 for 33 percent. Turnovers: 21. Offensive rebounds: 8.
Reach Chris Hoppes at 740-335-3611, ext. 1104, or on Twitter @choppes1