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(Jack Demmler/WOUB)

Circleville Uses Height Advantage to Beat Lady Vikings In District Finals

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CHILLICOTHE, Ohio-When it comes to playoffs, every team wants the opportunity to climb the ladder and cut the nets. The division two district finals pitted the Vinton County Lady Vikings up against the number one overall seed, the undefeated Circleville Lady Tigers.

The Lady Tigers used their height advantage to pounce on the Lady Vikings and win 61-45.

The atmosphere was intense to the point of standing room only.

The game started heavily contested with both teams sharing baskets. After tying the game at four, Vinton County went right into a full court press.

“I always go back to my assistant coach, Coach Jones,” head coach Rod Bentley said. “After hours of film study, he felt like that press would work and it did early. It worked well for us.”

The Lady Vikings started off the game with hot offense shooting six for eight and sinking two 3-pointers. Tegan Bartoe led the Lady Vikings with five points in the first quarter, shooting a perfect hundred percent from the field.

However, the Lady Vikings still saw themselves trailing 17-14 at the end of the first quarter. Vinton County got a glimpse at what was to come as much of Circleville’s offense relied on Kenzie McConnell using her height advantage in the paint.

McConnell finished the first quarter with six points. She shot one for six in the quarter while also knocking down all four of her free throws.

While the Lady Vikings were able to contain the Lady Tigers in the first quarter, Circleville started to run away with the game soon after. McConnell began to score more inside the paint as she finished the half with 12 points.

As McConnell started to heat up, Vinton County changed their defensive game plan to a 2-3 zone. However, as the Lady Vikings shift of focus opened other opportunities as the Lady Tigers dropped their only two three pointers of the game. Jaylah Captain dropped her only seven points of the half in the second quarter.

The Lady Tigers outscored the Lady Vikings 16-4 in the second quarter and went into the half with a 33-18 lead.

(Jack Demmler/WOUB)
(Jack Demmler/WOUB)

Despite being down big, Vinton County did not give up. The Lady Vikings stretched their offense beyond the arc and focused more on their three-point game. Bartoe dropped two 3-pointers to end her 11 points of the night.

However, despite their constant attempts to shorten the deficit, the Lady Tigers always seemed to have an answer as they still help a 15-point lead heading into the fourth quarter.

The Lady Tigers went back to McConnell in the paint which is a major reason they were able to hold on to their lead.

The fourth quarter was much of the same: the Lady Vikings kept fighting to shorten the deficit but the Lady Tigers strong game in the paint and height advantage kept Vinton County at bay. McConnell finished the night with 20 points.

“We went and talked about help defense, help side, ball pressure, fronting the post and all those things we tried to do,” Bentley said. “Hats off to them, they were a better basketball team tonight. I’m proud of my kids and we just got to get over that hump.”

With the victory, Circleville remains undefeated and look to continue their storybook season throughout the rest of the playoffs.