ANDALE — It won't go down as the Andale girls' best overall game this season.
But as they left the court with a 39-32 win over Circle, the Indians had little to complain about. Especially since the victory moved them into a first-place tie in the AV-CTL Division IV with Circle.
"We were determined," Andale coach Mark Kerschen said. "We knew the longer we hung in there the more confidence we would get."
The Indians used their defense to their benefit, something that was a huge problem the first time these two met before Christmas break when Circle won by 35.
Premium content for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
On Tuesday, Andale (11-5, 5-2) held the Thunderbirds to 22 points in the first half. In the third quarter Andale picked up the defensive pressure and held Circle scoreless.
Andale was having its own offensive problems, turning it over eight times in the third quarter and scoring just three points to lead by three.
"We're just focused on trying to keep teams under 35 points," Andale junior Jill Ast said. "(The third quarter) was frustrating because we weren't scoring much, but we kept them from scoring too. It wasn't as frustrating as it could have been."
In the fourth quarter, Circle (12-5, 5-2) scored its first basket of the half on a Courtney Kifer short jumper, cutting Andale's lead to 25-24.
It would be as close as the Thunderbirds would get. Andale responded with a 5-1 run.
Kyrstie Ehm's three-pointer pulled Circle within 30-28, but the Indians scored seven straight, with five of the points coming from the free throw line. The Thunderbirds had no answer in the final minute.
Ast, who led all scorers with 18 points had 11 in the first half, including a three-pointer right before the halftime buzzer to make it 22-22.
Kayla Morton knocked down her first four field goal attempts for Circle to finish with nine points.
"We just came in focused the way we have the past few games," Kerschen said. "We just keep playing better. It wasn't like we had Circle circled on the board. We didn't really have time to think about them much because we played Thursday, Friday, Monday. We just played with confidence."
Circle (12-5, 5-2) 12 10 0 10 — 32 Andale (11-5, 5-2) 13 9 3 14 — 39
CIRCLE: Hon 4, Flaming 4, Ehm 7, Barrett 2, Morton 9, Kifer 2, Jernigan 4 . Totals 14 (1) 3-7 32.
ANDALE: Martin 2, Orth 5, Blasi 3, Macari 3, Ast 18, Lies 2, VenJohn 6. Totals 13 (1) 12-19 39.