Downing’s play helps propel Circleville pasty Teays Valley

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Circleville 53, Teays Valley 52
Josh Downing had a quick learning curve Saturday evening. The Circleville senior learned from a situation from two games
ago to convert an old-fashion three-point play, helping the visiting
Tigers past Teays Valley 53-52 in a Mid-State League Buckeye Division
contest.


ASHVILLE — Josh Downing had a quick learning curve Saturday evening.

The Circleville senior learned from a situation from two games ago to convert an old-fashion three-point play, helping the visiting Tigers past Teays Valley 53-52 in a Mid-State League Buckeye Division contest.

“Josh had the same situation up at Bexley where he had a lane open and decided to pass up a shot and pass the ball,” Circleville coach Eddie Sims said. “The pass led to a turnover and we wanted him to learn from the situation.

“Little did we know that he would learn two games later and that was a big play for us.”

Clark McMahon led game-scorers with 21 points for the visiting Tigers. Kory Hartinger had 10 points and nine rebounds, Joel Williams contributed nine points and Justin Topping tallied eight rebounds.

Teays Valley (4-6, 1-5) held the lead for most of the final quarter, thanks to five points from Zach Race and two buckets by Alex Ell.

With Circleville (7-4, 4-2) trailing 50-48 in the remaining two minutes, Downing saw a lane open on the left side and attacked the basket, putting in a layup and drawing a foul. He converted the free throw to put the Tigers ahead by one.

“I saw the open lane and no one was there, so I decided to drive towards the basket and put up the shot,” Downing said. “I was nervous shooting the free throw because I knew it could’ve meant us winning or losing the game.”

After a bucket by Teays Valley senior Walter Stewart, Hartinger spotted up for a jumper with 50 seconds left to put Circleville ahead for good.

Teays Valley couldn’t counter in its last two possessions. Hartinger deflected a Teays Valley pass that ultimately landed in the hands of Drew McGlone. On the last possession of the game, Hartinger also deflected a desperation heave by Ell in the closing second.

“We knew we had to get some stops at the end of the game if we wanted to win,” Hartinger said. “I was able to get a couple of deflections, but it was about team defense and everyone contributing to getting those stops.”

Circleville appeared to be on its way to a much easier win in the first quarter, outscoring Teays Valley 17-4.

The Tigers used its transition game to score on five of its first six possessions of the game, and were led by McMahon pouring in eight points during the period. Circleville also held an 8-4 advantage on the glass and forced the Vikings into seven turnovers.

“Our kids came out very pumped for this game,” Sims said. “We were able to get our transition game going for some easy baskets to build the lead.”

Teays Valley turned the table on the Tigers in the second quarter, going on a 16-3 run to take a 26-24 lead into intermission. Race had eight points during the period, including a layup at the buzzer, and Walter Stewart gathered five points, three rebounds, two steals and two blocks.

“We called a couple of timeouts in the first quarter and I basically told the kids we were playing Circleville, who is suppose to be one of our biggest rivals,” Teays Valley coach Doug Etzler said. “It didn’t look like we had a type of effort you need playing a rival.

“Our game plan was to take advantage of our height, and we were able to pound the ball inside during the second quarter for baskets. We also drew some fouls and got to the line.”

The Vikings extended its lead to 34-24 coming out of the locker room, but the Tigers caught up with six points from McMahon and four by Hartinger to narrow the Circleville deficit down to 41-40 heading into the final period.

“In the third and fourth quarters, we stopped pounding the ball inside again,” Etzler said. “We settled for a lot of jump shots and we shouldn’t have with our size advantage.”

“Getting Kory (Hartinger) back on the floor in the third quarter helped us out a lot,” Sims said. “He had two fouls in the second quarter and had to sit a while and it hurt our transition game.”

Race led Teays Valley with 12 points and nine rebounds. Stewart followed with a double-double of 11 points and 11 rebounds. Elliott Heckler and Ell both added nine points.

Teays Valley shot 23 of 51 (43 percent) from the field and Circleville converted 23 of 51 (45 percent) opportunities.

The Vikings lost the turnover battle 21-18, but won the rebounding edge 39-35.

Circleville returns to action Tuesday, hosting Columbus Academy in a non-league game at the high school. Teays Valley travels to Fairfield Union Friday for an MSL contest.

“Our schedule doesn’t get any easier,” Sims said. “We face two good uptempo teams with Columbus Academy and Hamilton Township at home.

“It’s going to be a challenge for our kids, but it will be nice for our seniors to play a couple of basketball games at the high school they attend.”

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