The Circle Boys basketball team opened the season with a thrilling overtime loss to the Wichita Defenders. The game was close from start to finish, but the Defenders eventually won 80-72 after one overtime period.

Circle clearly had a disadvantage in size as the Thunderbirds tallest player is 6’ 3” with the next tallest player standing at 6’ 1”. This will be a disadvantage the T-Birds will will have all season and will have to overcome with hustle and quickness.

After one quarter, both teams were tied at 20, and at the halftime buzzer, Circle led by 2.

In the third quarter, the Defenders lived up to their name, with exceptional pressure defense. The Thunderbirds struggle to penetrate inside the lane, and could not knock down many shots outside as the Defenders outscored Circle 19-9 in the third quarter.

In the final quarter, Circle came storming back thanks to big three-pointers by Matt Hromek and Lane Coulter in the final two minutes. Circle had a chance to hit a game-winner, but the shot at the buzzer bounced off the rim, sending the game to overtime. Foul trouble plagued the T-Birds in overtime as the Defenders were in the double bonus for the entirety of overtime, sinking 7 free throws in overtime to win 80-73.

Jude Warren led Circle with 25 points, followed by Lane Coulter with 11.

Circle will continue their season on Friday at home against Wichita Independent on Friday night at 7:30 PM.