The Circle basketball team found itself in trouble early on Monday afternoon against Collegiate in the seventh-place game at the 51st Annual Bluestem Classic at El Dorado High School. The T-Birds were down 20-2 in the first quarter, and fought back to make it a close game, but ended up losing by a final score of 64-61.

“I had us making 28 turnovers for the game, and 15 occurred in the first quarter,” said Circle head coach Bo Horyna.

 “It is tough to win a game with that many miscues. We were better in the second half, due to the fact that we were better able to handle the ball and not turn it over as much.”

The Spartans forced turnover after turnover thanks to their full-court press. The T-Birds finished the first quarter without a field goal, as their only points came from the free-throw line.

Two minutes into the second quarter, Matt Hromek finally scored Circle’s first field goal of the game. The Thunderbirds began to adjust to the press and were able to find some rhythm. Both teams scored 19 points in the second quarter, and Collegiate took a 39-21 lead into halftime.

Collegiate continued to show full-court pressure in the second half and was able to hold a big lead for the remainder of the third quarter. The Spartans entered the final quarter with a 20-point lead, before the T-Birds came storming back.

Circle opened the fourth quarter on an 11-2 run. Jude Warren, Ryan Hanneman, and Matt Hromek each knocked down an early three-pointer. The T-Birds quickly cut the lead to 10 points as the Spartans hung on to a 58-48 lead.

Circle continued to knock down some big shots, but struggled at the free throw line in the final minutes. Circle finished 4-for-11 from the line in the fourth quarter. The comeback attempt fell short as the Spartans escaped with a 64-61 victory.

Jude Warren led the T-Birds with 13 points. Gunner Hutson added 11, and Matt Hromek was also in double figures with 10.

Collegiate’s Gabe Fisher finished with a game-high 22 points.

The Thunderbirds will be back in action on Friday, Jan. 25 as they travel to Wellington (3-8).