Circleville scored the first 18 points Friday night and never looked back in posting a 60-28 win over visiting Liberty Union.
“I thought we were really well prepared in the beginning because we all took our time and we got the right shot off at the right time and we were not selfish with the ball at all,” Circleville junior Tori Bircher said. She had 10 points in the first quarter and hit a tree-pointer a few seconds into the second quarter to help fuel the fast start.
“I felt really good because my coaches give me a lot of confidence,” Bircher said. “Coach (Jillian) McFarlan, she really helped me before the game and told me that I would do well and that I needed not to worry if I missed my first couple of shots and to just keep shooting.”
With eight points in both quarters, Kenzie McConnell had 16 points by halftime as Circleville held a 38-11 lead. She ended the night with 20.
“It was good to see Tori bust some threes early on. When she’s shooting it well out there we become a dangerous team and it opens up our inside game,” Circleville coach Steve Kalinoski said. “Kenzie had a good game inside, hit some jumpers tonight. Shayna Hoop hit some jumpers for us tonight, too.
“We know our two post players (Hoop and McConnell) are going to extend out a little bit against some teams we’re going to play coming up, so them hitting some jumpers on the outside was good for us tonight.”
Hoop finished the night with 11 points and 10 rebounds.
Circleville had a 39-28 rebounding advantage led by Hoop’s 10 and eight from McConnell.
Circleville was also unselfish with the ball, as the Tigers recorded 16 assists.
“As a team, I thought we passed the ball extremely well tonight,” Kalinoski said. “We had 16 assists, we were happy with that and they were fun to watch tonight.”
The Tigers also had a good night handling the basketball, with only three turnovers in the first three quarters.
“That’s been a big plus for us this year — we’ve been able to handle the ball a lot better,” Kalinoski said. “This group is a year older. We had a lot of turnovers last year and that’s one of the things we focused on in the offseason was to do a better job with the basketball. That’s going to be big for us in our future games.”
The Tigers (7-2, 4-1) come back after Christmas to play at Alexander Thursday and then go up against Linden McKinley Saturday at the Jeff Sheets Classic at Teays Valley.
“The tougher part of our schedule is right around the corner,” Kalinoski said. “We’re excited about it. We’re playing with a lot of confidence and we hope that continues.”
Arica Kieffer led Liberty Union (2-6, 1-4) with seven points while Claire Kilger was the Lions’ top rebounder with six.
- Liberty Union was a 38-32 winner in the reserve game.
Logan Jones led Circleville with 11 points while Alaina Francis and Jordan Rhymer each had six, Lily Winter had four, Sara Gearhart had three and Alyssa Heft had two.
Circleville 60, Liberty Union 28
Liberty Union — Roach 0-2-2, Howell 1-0-2, Keiffer 3-0-7, Martens 1-0-2, Powers 1-0-2, Sevenoff 1-0-3, McClaskey 2-0-4, McAfee 2-0-5, Miracle 0-1-1. Three-point goals — Keiffer, Sevenoff, Mcafee. Totals — 11-42 3-9 28.
Circleville — Perini 1-0-3, Heft 2-0-4, Bircher 5-0-13, Gray 1-0-3, Hoop 5-0-11, Rhymer 1-0-2, Kendrick 1-2-4, McConnell 10-0-20. Three-point goals — Perini, Bircher (3), Gray, Hoop. Totals — 26-57 2-5 60.
Liberty Union 4 7 2 15 28
Circleville 25 13 10 12 60