The Butler County rivalry continued on Tuesday night in Towanda as familiar foes El Dorado and Circle met for the third time this season, this time for the chance to continue playing in 2013.
The #3 seeded Lady T-Birds needed overtime to dispatch the Lady Wildcats 55-47 on their home court.
"I give a lot of credit to El Dorado. They have played us close in all three contests this season. We knew coming into the game that we were going to have to do a good job of execution. We feel that our defensive intensity is our high point and we did not have that the first quarter into the second," said Circle head coach Brian Henry.
The Lady Wildcats took advantage of the T-Birds' lapse in intensity in the first half storming out to a 11-5 lead in the first quarter behind 7 points from senior Andrea Valadez.
The two teams battled possesion for possesion in the second quarter matching point for point as Circle found some offensive consistency. The Lady T-Birds outscored the Lady Wildcats 12-11 in the period but El Dorado still led at halftime 22-17. Circle's Jamie Wright led with 6 points in the frame and El Dorado's Valadez added 6 more to finish a strong half with 13 points.
"We started to work our offense a little better. They were able to sit back in their zone defense and we could not do much with it. We made some adjustments and we were able to get some better looks from there. When El Dorado switched back to man defense later in the game that kinda helped us we felt more comfortable going against that set," said Henry.
Circle took its first lead of the game in the third quarter scoring 14 points and limiting the Lady Wildcats to just 7 points in the quarter to lead by a bucket at 31-29. Circle's Katie Frankenberry and Alexis Wiebe had 4 points each in the third to lead the T-Birds on their run. El Dorado got 5 of its 7 points from Justice Rice in the period.
The Lady Wildcats fought back in the fourth seizing the lead late with converted and one from Valadez and El Dorado went up on top 40-38 with less than a minute left in the game. Circle took their final possesion of regulation and Jamie Wright was fouled sending her to the line with a chance to tie it with 6 second remaining in the game.
"Jamie Wright made those clutch free throws to send it to overtime that is a tough situation for anybody, and to do that in a situation where it is win and move on or lose and go home. I am just so proud of her for making those and it was a good team effort to get the win tonight," said Henry.
Page 2 of 2 - El Dorado outscored Circle in the period 11-9 and the game tied at 40 was sent to bonus minutes.
Circle, already in the bonus through midway in the third quarter, scored 13 of its 15 overtime points from the charity stripe and the Lady Wildcats were only able to manage 7 points as senior playmakers Hannah Helferich and Andrea Valadez fouled out in the overtime.
For the game Circle was 24-46 from the free throw line and El Dorado was 13-22.
Circle had three players score in double figures to lead them to their first round win. Alexis Wiebe had 12 points going 6-6 from the line and Jamie Wright had 12 points. Kate Wilson had 10 points including three three pointers. Katie Frankenberry added 7 points and Allyssa Kirkham had 6 points. Alison Kirkham had 4 points and Jacy Gibbs added 3 points.
El Dorado was led by Andrea Valadez with 21 points with a three pointer and going 4-6 from the line. Justice Rice had 8 points with a three pointer and went 3-3 from the stripe. Kalyn Beel added 6 points and Erin Hildreth, Hannah Helferich and Destiny Smith each added 4 points apiece.
El Dorado finishes their season with a 5-15 record and Circle (11-9) moves on to face Labette Friday.