AMANDA — Despite having to wait a couple of days because of Saturday’s snowstorm, Amanda-Clearcreek and Circleville wrapped up the first half of the league schedule with the Aces keeping the Tigers at bay for a 75-65 win.
“I was pleased with our effort. I thought when we needed to make good plays, we did,” AC coach Cody Carpenter said. “A couple of our seniors stepped up in big ways and we had great minutes from our bench guys. I was extremely pleased with the way we came together and finished at the end.”
Will Riffle led the Aces with 22 points and pulled down 10 rebounds while Alex Smith had 18 points to go with a dozen rebounds. The Aces (8-4, 3-4) also got 15 points from Jeffrey Bolin and 10 from Jayse Miller.
Circleville’s Riley Gibson was the game’s top scorer with 25 points. Jay Styers, back after missing the previous eight games, put in 13 for Circleville (4-9, 0-7) and Darcell Picket had 12.
The 22 rebounds from Smith and Riffle were part of a 43-33 rebounding advantage for the Aces.
“That’s been our biggest strength this year is our rebounding,” Carpenter said. “Now there have been times where we struggled to put the ball back in the hole, but our rebounding has been phenomenal this year. I think every game we’ve outrebounded our opponents.”
Sixteen of AC’s rebounds were on the offensive end of the floor, with Smith accounting for seven of them.
“I thought Alex did a much better job of being patient, getting his shoulders square to the baseline and finishing,” Carpenter added. “Our guards are strong and they work. I was extremely pleased with our effort on the 50-50 balls, especially there in the second half.”
The game began with the Tigers scoring first on a three-pointer from Picket and another trey from the senior had Circleville up 6-5, but those would be the only leads for the Red and Black Monday night.
AC led 10-9 at the end of the first quarter. After 12-12 and 14-14 ties early in the second, the Aces stayed in front the rest of the night. AC outscored Circleville 9-4 in the final three minutes of the first half to go into the break up 33-25.
Circleville scored the first five points of the second half to close to within three points. By the end of the period, though, AC had built its lead to 10 points and was up 48-38.
AC built the lead to as many as 15 points midway through the final period.
Free throws were an issue for both squads Monday with the Tigers going 19-29 at the stripe and the Aces 15-31.
“Missing 10 free throws, and some of those being in the bonus, it does hurt you, especially in a game like tonight,” Circleville coach Tyler Cassidy said.
Losing the battle for the rebounds was a decisive factor in the game, Cassidy said.
“Ultimately, I thought we left a lot of toughness plays out there,” he said. “We were getting beat off the dribble up top, causing us to rotate off of our guys and not being able to check out. When we get beat and have to rotate, we’re not going to be able to jump with Amanda-Clearcreek, especially with Smith inside. He really killed us inside and we didn’t have an answer for that.
“They missed 16 free throws, but off of that I bet they rebounded 10 of them,” Cassidy added. “He was moving us around and getting to wherever he wanted, especially off their missed free throws.”
Despite the struggles on defense, Monday’s 65 points is the highest output of the season for the Tigers and Cassidy would like to see that continue as his team heads to Greenfield McClain tonight.
“I though we played with great rhythm offensively tonight. Offensively, that was probably one of the better games we’ve had this season,” he said. “I thought we shared the ball well. Hopefully that’s a rhythm thing to where we keep our momentum going into Greenfield.”
The Aces were playing with a full lineup for the first time this season and will look to carry Monday’s success over to Wednesday’s game with Northridge.
“We got whole tonight with Lane Stevens being back for his first night. We were excited to get him back on the court tonight. Overall, we were extremely pleased with the way everybody played,” Carpenter said. “We dribbled with a purpose tonight. We were able to get to the rim and do some good things. Will Riffle stepped up big, Alex stepped up big on both sides of the ball and Jayse Miller had a good all-around game.”
- Circleville was a 47-38 winner in the reserve game.
Logan Crabtree led Circleville with 21 points, Craig Fleck had eight, Jake Bell had six, Kaleb Nungester had five, Ethan Moore chipped in four and Trevor Coleman had three.
Isaiah McQuade and Blake Kinser led Amanda-Clearcreek with 10 points each, Neil Graves had six, Connor Lafferty had five, Anthony Buckley had four and Nate Hunter added three.
Amanda-Clearcreek 75, Circleville 65
Circleville — Jones 1-0-3, Gibson 7-9-15, Justice 1-0-3, Gray 1-0-2, Parr 1-2-4, Pickett 2-6-12, Styers 5-2-13, Crabtree 1-0-3. Three-point goals — Jones, Gibson (2), Justice, Pickett (2), Styers, Crabtree. Totals — 19-46 19-29 65.
Amanda-Clearcreek— Madison 1-0-2, Bolin 4-6-15, Smith 8-2-18, Hunter 2-1-5, Miller 4-1-10, Connell 1-1-3, Riffle 9-4-22. Three-point goals — Bolin, Miller. Totals — 29-54 15-31 75.
Quarter scores 1 2 3 4 F
Circleville 9 16 13 27 65
Am-Clearcreek 10 23 15 27 75