CIRCLEVILLE — The Washington Blue Lions began the Division II Sectional tournament with a game at Circleville High School Saturday, Feb. 20.
The format is different this year, with the higher-seeded team hosting the game, rather than several teams gathering at a neutral site.
The Blue Lions erupted for 24 first quarter points and though their offensive output decreased with each successive period, they were able to stay in front and post a 62-54 victory.
Washington had four players reach double figures in scoring, led by senior Micai Claggett with 21 points.
Sophomore Raleigh Haithcock hit three of his team’s seven three-point field goals and finished with 13 points.
Junior Karson Runk connected on two threes and ended the game with 10 points.
Sophomore Tanner Lemaster scored 10 points, hitting one three along the way.
For the Tigers, junior Craig Fleck was the game’s leading scorer with 24 points. He sank four of Circleville’s nine three-point baskets.
Freshman Briley Cramer scored 17 points, including two three-point buckets.
The Blue Lions led 24-16 at the end of the first quarter.
Washington had another successful quarter in the second, scoring 17 to the Tigers’ 10 to increase their lead to 41-26 at the half.
Circleville played its best basketball in the third quarter, scoring 18 and limiting Washington to 12 points.
After three quarters of action, the Blue Lions were in front, 53-38.
Circleville scored 10 points in the fourth quarter, but could really not make a dent in the deficit with the Blue Lions countering with nine points for the 62-54 final.
“We played well, moved the ball well, got out in transition and everyone contributed,” Washington Blue Lion head coach Shannon Bartruff said. “Our defense was really good at times and porous at others.
“The key was our energy and we took care of the ball,” Bartruff said. “Unofficially, we had eight turnovers, which is by far our fewest of the season. Micai played his best offensive game of the year and we needed it as they paid a lot of attention to Tanner.
“Our guards got us into the offense, shot it well and moved the ball (Karson and Raleigh),” Bartruff said. “Titus and Brice’s energy was great. I’m happy for our team for the chance to experience a tournament win. We now play a very talented Warren team who is the number one seed in the Southeast District. It will be a great test and we are looking forward to the challenge.”
Washington (3-13) the No. 17 seed in the tournament, will travel to Vincent, Ohio to take on the No. 1 seed Warren Warriors Thursday at 7 p.m.
The winner of that game will host the winner of the McClain at New Lexington game on March 4.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
W 24 17 12 9 — 62
C 16 10 18 10 — 54
WASHINGTON — John Wall 0-0-0; Brice Cartwright 0 (1)-0-3; Karson Runk 2 (2)-0-10; Micai Claggett 9-3-21; Titus Lotz 0-0-0; Raleigh Haithcock 2 (3)-0-13; Traeton Johnson 0-0-0; Tanner Lemaster 2 (1)-3-10; Isaiah Haithcock 2-1-5. TOTALS — 17 (7)-7-62. Free throw shooting: 7 of 9 for 78 percent. Three-point field goals: R. Haithcock, 3; Runk, 2; Cartwright, Lemaster.
CIRCLEVILLE — Matthew Bradley 0-0-0; Trevor Coleman 0-2-2; Briley Cramer 4 (2)-3-17; Winston Jones 0 (1)-0-3; Preston Hulse 1 (2)-0-8; Max Brooks 0-0-0; Craig Fleck 5 (4)-2-24. TOTALS — 10 (9)-7-54. Free throw shooting: 7 of 9 for 78 percent. Three-point field goals: Fleck, 4; Cramer, 2; Hulse, 2; Jones.