Friday, December 8th, 2006
By Ryan Hines
Celina surmounts late deficit for victory on the road at St. Marys
ST. MARYS - Celina erased a seven-point deficit at the beginning of the fourth quarter and Liz Homan hit the game-winner for the Bulldogs in a 46-45 win over St. Marys on Thursday night.
The Bulldogs' win in the annual rivalry meeting stops a three-game losing streak as the Green and White improve to 2-3 overall and 1-1 in the Western Buckeye League. St. Marys slips to 1-3 on the season and 0-2 in league play.
"It's a big win for us because we stopped a losing streak and we stopped it by beating a good team on the road," said Celina head coach Brian Stetler.
Celina trailed 45-44 with under a minute to play when Homan got the ball on the block and made a spin move into the lane for a turnaround jumper. Homan was fouled on the play but hit the short jumper anyway to put the Bulldogs on top 46-45.
"We wanted to get Liz the ball in that situation because we feel that she can get to the basket," said Stetler. "She missed the same sort of shot just one possession earlier but this time I thought she really went hard to the basket and she got it."
"I went straight up on my shot the second time and had more confidence in my shot," said Homan, on the difference of the missed potential go-ahead shot on the previous possession.
Homan missed the ensuing free throw on the potential three-point play, but teammate Betsy Hone outjumped the Roughriders for an offensive rebound.
Celina worked the ball around the perimeter taking time off the clock, but as the time ticked away, the Bulldogs took an ill-advised shot that was off the mark with 10 seconds left.
St. Marys got the rebound with the chance to win the game but Steph Platt's short turnaround jumper in the lane bounced off the rim and Celina escaped McBroom Gymnasium with a one-point win.
"They did a good job of getting the ball to Platt, who was having a good game, and actually she got a good look at it, but it just missed," said Stetler.
St. Marys head coach Tim Niekamp is hoping for a little deja vu. Last year, the Roughriders lost by one point to the Bulldogs, but still went on to win a share of the WBL crown.
"We had to make three passes against the pressure defense that we were expecting from Celina and we made those three passes and got the ball where we wanted it. It was just a tough shot and unfortunately it just didn't drop," said Niekamp. "Last year we lost by a point to Celina and it felt horrible and it feels that way again this year. We turned it around last year and we'll work as hard as we can to do the same this year."
Hone led all scorers for Celina with 16 points while Homan hit for 13 points and Kelsey Waterman contributed 10 points.
A pair of three-pointers by Waterman helped Celina creep back into the game in the fourth quarter. Celina was 0-for-8 on treys until Waterman hit two on consecutive Bulldogs possessions in the final quarter.
"Kelsey stepped up and hit a couple of big outside shots for us at big times in the fourth quarter," said Stetler. "I know that she can do that (hit the outside shot) and hopefully that's just a sign of things to come."
Celina trailed 39-32 entering the fourth quarter but outscored St. Marys 14-8 in the final eight minutes.
"They hit some big shots in the fourth quarter and I think they threw some defenses at us that also effected our offense late in the game," said Niekamp.
Lea Mackenbach led three Roughriders in double figures with 15 points, including three treys, while Emily Shellabarger and Platt each added 13 points.
Celina is back in action again on Thursday hosting Van Wert while St. Marys will host Delphos St. John's on Monday in a nonconference contest.
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