TOWANDA — Memo to future Circle girls opponents: if your defensive game plan is to focus on seniors Kyrstie Ehm and Hanna Flaming, that might be a problem.
Circle proved Friday night in a 59-24 victory over visiting Andale that there's more to this team than the duo of Ehm and Flaming.
Haley Barrett, in her best game this season, finished with three steals and a game-high 14 points. Samantha Jernigan also had her best game with 10 rebounds, 13 points and two blocked shots.
"You expect Kyrstie and Hanna to get their numbers," said Circle coach Brian Henry, whose team is 5-0 and ranked fourth in Class 4A. "But it shows how good a team we can be when they don't necessarily get their numbers but everybody else steps up and downs. It shows the unselfishness of Kyrstie and Hanna, too, because they were high on the assist charts, as well."
Jernigan, at 6-foot-2, had a clear height advantage — Andale's tallest player is 5-9. She was able to pluck the ball away from Andale and score right over the Indians.
"She definitely came on for us a lot," said Henry of Jernigan, who transferred to Circle this school year."... We're working on getting her into our defensive philosophy and knowledge of our program."
It wasn't as if Flaming and Ehm were non-factors, though.
Flaming finished with 12 points, two steals and two blocked shots, while Ehm had 10 points, nine rebounds and four steals.
Circle shot well as a team, hitting 27 of 52 shots from the field and 2 of 3 three-pointers. The Thunderbirds' defense was the highlight.
Eight players had steals, including Kayla Morton's four, which tied Ehm for a game-best.
"We made sure we were in very good helpside and stopped the drive because (Andale) drives so well," Barrett said.
Circle held Andale to 5-of-39 shooting from the field and without a field goal for 17 minutes, 29 seconds, including the entire second quarter.
"We struggled against that press," said Andale coach Mark Kerschen, whose team committed 28 turnovers. "We just saw that same press Tuesday night (against Wellington), and we acted like we didn't see it."
Circle consistently got their hands in the passing lanes and maintained an aggressive intensity throughout.
"To be as good of a team as we need to be, we need to be at the top of our game on the defensive side," Henry said. "I think we showed that tonight."
Andale (0-2, 2-2) 5 5 4 10 — 24 Circle (2-0, 5-0) 11 17 21 10 —59
ANDALE: Ast 1, Macari 6, Martin 3, Lies 6, M. Hein 4, R. Eck 4. Totals 5 (2) 12-22 24.
CIRCLE: Ehm 10, Barrett 14, Flaming 12, Hon 2, Morton 4, Jernigan 13, Adlesperger 2, Frankenbery 2. Totals 27 (2) 3-4 59.