The Circle boys basketball team bounced back from a season-opening loss with a 67-60 overtime win over Independence at home on Tuesday night.
The first quarter was tightly-contested as both teams traded buckets. Circle suffered a scare in the first quarter when their leading scorer, Jude Warren, suffered an ankle injury. Fortunately for the T-Birds, Warren was bale to play through it for the remainder of the game.
In the second quarter, Independence started to separate themselves and took a double-digit lead into halftime.
Circle entered the second half trailing 35-24. Jude Warren scored 10 straight points to start the third quarter, cutting Independence’s lead to three.
In the final quarter, Circle’s full-court pressure was causing problems for Independence and helped keep the T-Birds in the game. A 6-0 Circle run gave the T-Birds a 55-53 lead with three minutes to go. With 30 seconds left in regulation and the game tied at 57, Independence got a steal and took a timeout to plan for the final shot. The Bulldogs were unable to get off a shot attempt in the final seconds.
Matt Hromek knocked down a three for the first points of overtime. Eli Jacobson came up with a quick steal and found Jude Warren for a layup to give Circle a 62-57 lead early in the overtime period.
On the defensive end, Senior forward Cole Allison took a charge that brought the crowd to its feet. Warren knocked down five free throws in the closing seconds, bringing his point total to 42 as the Thunderbirds hung on for a 67-60 win.
“Jude is a heck of a player. He’s one of the top players in the area,” said Circle head coach Bo Horyna.
“He had a tough go in our opener, so I knew he was going to go off tonight. I could tell he was focused and he was going to get it done.”
Matt Hromek was the only other Thunderbird in double figures with 13 points.
“We knew we weren’t playing very well in the first half. We had to do something to change the flow of the game. Our press ended up helping us a little bit. We got a few turnovers, and those turnovers helped us get back in the game and got the momentum going our way,” added Horyna.
Circle will face Labette County on Friday, Dec. 7 at home before hosting 4A No.8 Parsons on Saturday, Dec. 8.