EL DORADO – Circle Junior Luke Beougher stepped into a starting role with senior Gunner Hutson out and showed off his scoring ability, dropping 26 points in Circle’s 60-42 win over El Dorado on Friday night.

After playing a brutal schedule, The Circle T-Birds approached this game not as a must win but a game they were almost due.

“I was due,” Junior Drew Middleton said. “I just try to go out and do my best for my team. I was due after a few games this season.”

Those dues paid off. Middleton scored 10 points in the third quarter and helped eliminated any comeback from the Wildcats. Every time El Dorado made a push to get back into the game, it was a handful of plays made by different T-birds that came through.

Middleton was big as he finished with 20 points for the Thunderbirds tonight.

“I don’t care if they played one minute or 32 minutes,” Circle head coach Bo Horyna said. “Everyone contributed in their own way. I thought Brendan Galloway gave us great minutes tonight.”

It started early in the first quarter. After El Dorado found their way to the pain with ease, the switch to a non-traditional 3-2 locked the paint down. The T-Birds defense clamped own and made a statement. They held El Dorado without a basket for almost 10 minutes, including the entire second period.

“The last week we thought we had to get better at defensive side of things,” Horyna said. “We did that tonight.”

Beougher did his damage when the Wildcats couldn’t buy a bucket. He scored three straight buckets that saw Circle’s lead go from single digits to double digits on a buzzer beater by Beougher.

“I just do what my team needs me and tonight, it was getting points in the second,” Beougher said.”

Circle led 26-19 at the break.

That’s when the Middleton show took off. He capped it off by nailing a banked in three at the buzzer of the third to increase the lead to six and you could feel the air just leave El Dorado High School.

Turnovers and missed opportunities by El Dorado led to outlet passes and easy layups in the fourth quarter as Circle started to pull away.

Garrett Meyer led El Dorado with 16 points. Jake Johnson had 13 points for the Wildcats as well.

Both teams are off heading into the winter break. El Dorado travels to Augusta in their first game of the new semester. Circle will start with the always tough Buhler Crusaders at home on Tuesday, Jan. 7.

“We’ll go down to the ‘Y,’” Beougher said. “We’ll get shots up over break for sure.”

Circle – 12; 14; 12; 22 – 60
El Dorado – 17; 2; 13; 10 – 42

Circle: Beougher 26, Middleton 20, Shaults 7, Jacobson 4, Hromek 3
El Dorado: Meyer 16, Johnson 13, Wittenberg 8, Kemboi 5