Mullens doesn’t score 62, but Indians beat Circleville anyway

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Canal Winchester 74, Circleville 55
Canal Winchester senior B.J. Mullens has grabbed many headlines
around the state after hanging 62 points on Our Savior New American
(NY) Monday. His effort Friday was more business-like against the Circleville
Tigers, scoring a game-high 29 points, pulling down 15 rebounds and
blocking three shots in a 74-55 win for the Indians. For Mullens, however, he credited the win to the guard play of the Indians.


CANAL WINCHESTER — Canal Winchester senior B.J. Mullens has grabbed many headlines around the state after hanging 62 points on Our Savior New American (NY) Monday.

His effort Friday was more business-like against the Circleville Tigers, scoring a game-high 29 points, pulling down 15 rebounds and blocking three shots in a 74-55 win for the Indians.

For Mullens, however, he credited the win to the guard play of the Indians.

“They were playing a 1-2-2 type defense and our guards started it for us,” Mullens said. “They were able to spread the floor and make shots.

“Once they had to go out there and guard them, that opened up the inside for me more and our guards did a good job of feeding me the ball. I know I had 62 points earlier this week (against Our Savior New American of New York) and that helped us win that game, but we have a lot of pieces that help us to win games. Our guards won us this game.”

With the memory of being pummeled 17-1 in the first quarter of its initial Mid-State League contest of the season with the Indians last month, the Tigers (10-6, 6-4) turned the table on their hosts early.

Circleville rolled off the first 10 points of the game, led by the hot hand of senior guard Kory Hartinger, who drained all five shots he took in the period for 13 points.

“We wanted to get off to a good start,” Hartinger said. “We were all feeling it early and everyone got involved in it.”

Joel Williams also mixed in a trey and brought down three hard rebounds as the Tigers led 18-13 after the first quarter.

The Tigers took what turned out to be its last lead of the evening when Hartinger connected on a jumper to put CHS ahead 24-22 halfway through the second period.

“I’ve never been more proud of a team than tonight,” Circleville coach Eddie Sims said. “That kind of sounds funny when you lose by 19 points, but I can’t say enough about the fire the kids came out with and played with throughout the whole game.

“They weren’t intimidated by them. The kids went right at them and their effort was outstanding.”

Canal Winchester (14-2, 10-0) followed with a 12-5 run to close the first half. B.J. Mullens put the Indians ahead for good with a monster flush, and Darian Cartharn connected on three buckets, helping Canal Winchester to a 34-29 halftime lead.

“We knew Circleville was going to come out and play very hard, and our guys weren’t ready when the game started,” Canal Winchester coach Kent Riggs said. “When you aren’t ready to play, you are going to be down 10-0 against a good team like Circleville.

“After that we kind of dug deep. Our guards were able to make some shots, create and get the ball to B.J. for some opportunities inside.”

The Indians expanded its lead to 55-44 at the end of the third quarter as Mullens tallied eight points during the period and Wes White connected on a pair of three-pointers.

“B.J. has been doing a better job with his positioning and getting deeper in the paint,” Riggs said. “Our guards have done a good job of getting him the ball.”

Mullens was forced to the Indians bench with 5:47 left in the game after committing his fourth foul.

Leading 61-50 at the time, Canal Winchester expanded its lead to 18 with Mullens on the bench. Remon Nelson led the charge with five points.

“I think we got a little worn out at the end,” Sims said. “We missed some free throws and bunny shots that could have kept us closer.

“Canal Winchester is just an athletic team. They can throw it into B.J. and they can also go with five athletic guards and spread the floor when he isn’t playing.”

Hartinger finished with 20 points and eight rebounds for Circleville. Williams added 18 points.

Nelson had 13 points and Cartharn contributed 10 for Canal Winchester.

Circleville returns home Tuesday to face rival Logan Elm. Canal Winchester travels to Hamilton Township on the same evening.

“We always want to play our best basketball at the end of the season,” Hartinger said. “Hopefully we can take this kind of effort we had and continue to play like this throughout the end of the season and into the tournament.”

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