Isaac Ward only missed one shot from the field in putting together a career effort Tuesday night as he led his Logan Elm Braves to a 57-43 win over Circleville.
“I was feeling it. I had the confidence to take some tougher ones and got in a really good rhythm,” the sophomore said of a 32-point scoring night.
Ward was 8-9 shooting (6-6 from behind the three-point arc) and hit 10 of 11 free throws as he helped the Braves (11-9, 8-5) grab an early lead and then kept CHS (6-14, 2-11) at bay in the second half.
And that he had a night like he did against the rival Tigers — “That makes it 10 times better — playing against your rival and sweeping them, that makes it great. It can’t get much better than that,” he said. Ward also went off for 31 points earlier this year against Teays Valley.
Ward was 3-3 from three-point land in the first period with a pair of free throws in the first quarter as LE got out to a 15-9 lead. He had 19 points by half time as the Braves were up 25-20.
“I think he really wanted this game and did a really good job of recognizing what they were doing, especially early, against the ball screen. He was able to knock them down and got some confidence and really got going,” LE coach Doug Stiverson said. “Then he was able to get to the basket and get to the free throw line. That was a huge difference for us offensively.”
Jason Sailor and Gabe Chalfin scored early in the third for LE and Ward added a bucket to make it a 32-20 game, but Circleville fought back and a three-pointer from Evan Justice cut the gap to three points with 25 second remaining in the quarter.
Ward came through off an inbound play with 1.6 seconds showing to hit his sixth three-pointer of the night as the buzzer sounded to put LE up 35-29.
“To his credit, I thought we still made it very difficult and he just made five tough shots on threes in the first half and gave them the lead at halftime,” Circleville coach Tyler Cassidy said. “We climb back into it and it’s a three-point game and he makes a tough one at the end of the third quarter to push it back up to six.
“It seemed like every time we made a run and got it close, he responded for them.”
LE got some scoring from Jeremy Weitelman early in the fourth and Jason Sailor and Ward combined to hit 13 of 13 free throws in the fourth to preserve the win.
“Early in the fourth quarter, we had some different guys score for us to keep our lead. We had it up to 12 and they got it back down to (three), then some other guys were able to step up and hit some shots,” Stiverson said.” Jeremy Weitelman hit a big three in the corner to sustain that lead for us. Then we did a really good job taking care of the basketball late in the game and getting to the free throw line and hitting our foul shots.”
Sailor ended the night with 10 points for LE while Weitelman had five.
Riley Gibson led Circleville with 12 with Jay Styers putting in 11 and Conner Jones scoring eight.
“I thought our defense was pretty solid tonight. We had a lot of guys playing smart basketball defensively,” Stiverson said. “I thought Luke Baldwin, coming off the bench, did a nice job tonight on Gibson (who averages 17.5 ppg) defensively in the second quarter and in the second half.”
The Tigers finished the night with a 26-22 rebounding edge on a night when play was physical underneath the basket.
Darcell Pickett led the Tigers with 10 rebounds (five offensive) while Evan Huffman had seven to lead LE.
“We really talk about one of our favorite quotes from (Boston Celtics coach) Brad Stevens is that “The game honors toughness.” We feel like if we do tough things during the course of the basketball game it’s going to give us a chance at the end,” Cassidy said. “For the most part, I thought we played with great toughness tonight and made a lot of toughness plays, however, what it came down to is we didn’t make enough shots. We got some good looks at times and they just didn’t go for us.
“Also, it’s tough to overcome the night Isaac Ward had tonight. He had an exceptional ballgame.”
Circleville will need that toughness as they have a quick turnaround with Berne Union coming to town tonight for a game rescheduled from earlier in the season. The Tigers finish up the regular season with Amanda-Clearcreek Friday.
Logan Elm wraps up the regular season at Bloom-Carroll Friday.
- Logan Elm was a 43-35 winner in the JV game.
Trace Smith led the Braves with 16, David Harden had 12, Konnor Starkey had eight, Tyler Baer had four, Xavier Kellough had two and Garret Summers had one.
Ethan Moore led the Tigers with 16 points, Logan Crabtree had 10, Jake Bell had six and Craig Fleck had three.
Logan Elm 57, Circleville 43
Logan Elm — Watson 1-0-2, Huffman 1-2-4, Weitelman 2-0-5, Ward 8-10-32, Sailor 2-5-10, Chalfin 2-0-4. Three-point goals — Weitelman, Ward(6), Sailor. Totals — 16-31 17-18 57
Circleville — Jones 2-3-8, Gibson 3-5-12, Justice 1-0-3, Gray 0-1-1, Parr 1-2-5, Pickett 1-0-3, Styers 4-2-11. Three-point goals — Jones, Gibson, Justice, Parr, Pickett, Styers. Totals — 12-40 13-20 43.
Quarter scores 1 2 3 4 F
Logan Elm 15 10 10 22 57
Circleville 9 11 9 14 43