The Miami Trace Panthers and Circleville Tigers saved the best, or at least the most exciting part, until the fourth quarter of Friday’s non-league contest between long-ago former league rivals.
Miami Trace led by as many as seven points with 5:50 to play in the game. However, the Tigers rallied back to claim the victory, 53-48.
Senior Darby Tyree was the game’s leading scorer for Miami Trace with 22 points, including one slam dunk. Tyree had a double-double with 10 rebounds.
Senior Cameron Carter was also in double figures with 10 points.
Junior Austin Brown added eight points and six rebounds for Miami Trace.
For the Tigers, senior Jacob Rhymer led with 14 points.
Senior Seth Risner had nine points and led Circleville with nine rebounds.
Senior Jake Mancini scored nine points and pulled down five rebounds.
There were a couple of early lead changes until the Tigers pulled ahead, 12-3.
Circleville led Miami Trace 15-7 at the end of the first quarter.
The Tigers led by as many as 10 points in the second quarter (20-10) only to see the Panthers fight back and pull to within three points at the half after a steal and lay-up from senior Brett Lewis.
The lead changed hands four times in the third quarter with the Panthers holding a slim 35-34 lead heading into the exciting fourth quarter.
There was a flurry of activity for the Panthers in the early stages of the fourth with a slam dunk from Tyree and then a steal and quick bucket, followed after a turnover from both teams by a goal from Brown to give Miami Trace its biggest lead of the night, 41-34 with 5:50 remaining.
The Tigers constructed a 9-0 run to go in front, 43-41 with 4:27 left to play.
The game was tied at 43 and then at 46.
Mancini hit a two-point basket and Rhymer sank a three to give the Tigers a 51-46 lead with just under two minutes left in the game.
The Panthers would not score another goal in the game.
Miami Trace did make a couple of free throws and Circleville scored the final basket to pull out the hard-fought 53-48 victory.
“We didn’t do what it took defensively, from an intensity standpoint, to take care of business,” Miami Trace head coach Rob Pittser said. “During that stretch, we were not able to build the lead that we wanted, nor maintain the lead. For whatever reason, we have nights where we don’t want to rebound the basketball or get loose balls.”
Circleville won the board battle, pulling down 36 (including 14 offensive) to 25 for Miami Trace (12 offensive).
“I’m not sure we got a loose ball there in the fourth quarter,” Pittser said. “If you don’t win the (battle for) loose balls and rebounds on any given night you’re putting yourself at a disadvantage and that’s what happened here tonight. Circleville was first to the rebound and first to the loose balls all night.
“It gives a team so many extra possessions and boosts their confidence that they were able to make some threes and that was difficult to overcome.”
“Our kids have been in that situation and gotten down,” Circleville head coach Tyler Cassidy said. “We’ve lost two games in the fourth quarter early on in the season; one where we were up by nine with three minutes to go and the other where we were up by six with two-and-a-half to go.
“(We’re) learning from those situations of how to play at the end,” Cassidy said. “We still made some mistakes but, the one thing that I’m proud of with our kids is, there was no quit, but there was also no hesitation. When we had opportunities to step up and make shots down the stretch, our kids did that.
“We talked about just being able to make plays to win the game in the fourth quarter and our players went out and won us the game by making those plays,” Cassidy said. “We were able to execute in the clutch down the stretch.
“We shot the ball as well as we have all year,” Cassidy said. “If we can shoot like that, I think we can beat some pretty good teams, like Miami Trace.”
Circleville had the three-point shot working Friday night in the Panther Pit as they hit a season-high 10 (out of 20 for 50 percent).
Miami Trace (3-5 overall, 3-1 in the Frontier Athletic Conference) will host the Washington Blue Lions Saturday.
The freshman Panthers will play Blanchester at 1:15 p.m.
There will follow four games between Washington and Miami Trace, starting with the j-v girls at 3 p.m. and the j-v boys at 4:30 p.m.
The Lady Lions varsity team will play Miami Trace (both are 4-0 in the FAC) at 6 p.m. and the Panthers and Blue Lions boys teams will play at 7:30 p.m.
Circleville (now 2-5 overall) is back in action on Friday, Dec. 29 at home against Westfall.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
MT 7 11 17 13 — 48
C 15 6 13 19 — 53
MIAMI TRACE — Darby Tyree 7 (2)-2-22; Cameron Carter 3 (1)-1-10; Austin Brown 4-0-8; Brett Lewis 1 (1)-0-5; Austin Mathews 0-2-2; Wyatt Cory 0-1-1; Heath Cockerill 0-0-0; Dakota Bolton 0-0-0. TOTALS — 15 (4)-6-48. Free throw shooting: 6 of 10 for 60 percent. Three-point field goals: Tyree, 2; Carter, Lewis. Combined field goal shooting: 19 of 52 for 36 percent. Three-point field goal shooting: 4 of 24 for 16 percent. Rebounds: 25 (12 offensive). Assists: 9. Steals: 14. Blocks: 4. Personal fouls: 15. Bench points: 3. Second chance points: 12. Points off turnovers: 12.
CIRCLEVILLE — Jacob Rhymer 1 (4)-0-14; Seth Risner 4-1-9; Jake Mancini 1 (2)-1-9; Evan Justice 2 (1)-0-7; Riley Gibson 0 (2)-0-6; D.J. Pickett 0-3-3; Webster Marcella 0 (1)-0-3; Cameron Banks 1-0-2. TOTALS — 9 (10)-5-53. Free throw shooting: 5 of 12 for 41 percent. Three-point field goals: Rhymer, 4; Gibson, 2; Mancini, 2; Marcella, Justice. Combined field goal shooting: 19 of 45 for 42 percent. Three-point field goal shooting: 10 of 20 for 50 percent. Rebounds: 36 (14 offensive). Assists: 11. Steals: 4. Blocks: 0. Turnovers: 20. Personal fouls: 14. Bench points: 11. Second chance points: 7. Points off turnovers: 8.