Saturday, February 17th, 2007
Celina gets off to quick start, then has to hold on for win
By Ryan Hines
Kyle White's role for the Celina boys basketball team has been to play great defense and set up the Bulldogs' offense as the point guard.
White played his role well and expanded on it with a career-high 17 points leading Celina to a 48-44 victory over Defiance on Friday night in Western Buckeye League action at the Fieldhouse.
Celina (7-10, 4-4 WBL) jumped ahead behind White's hot shooting (5-of-7 field goals, which included four three-pointers) and then had to hold on as Defiance finally found its shooting stroke in the fourth quarter.
The host Bulldogs led by as many as 14 points in the third quarter only to see Defiance drill five treys in the final 21/2 minutes to close the gap to one point at 45-44 off a Bryn Lehman trifecta with 17 seconds left on the clock.
Gabe James made one-of-two from the free-throw line to push the Celina advantage to 46-44 with just over 11 seconds left to play when Defiance squandered its chance at a game-tying possession.
Defiance (6-11, 2-6 WBL) was called for a double-dribble with seven seconds left in the game turning the ball back over to Celina. Brian Dorsten then canned a pair of free throws with six seconds on the clock putting Celina up four points for the final margin of victory.
"As poorly as we shot the ball (32 percent), we still had a shot at a game-tying shot or possibly even taking the lead with a three, but we turned the ball over at a horrible time," said Defiance coach Kirk Lehman. "We don't turn the ball over very often, that's usually our strength, but we gave it away too much tonight (15 times) and it took us awhile to get used to their physical play."
White's offensive outburst came as somewhat of a surprise to the Defiance mentor.
"We knew that he was a solid player for them, but him hitting for four three-pointers in the first half wasn't something that we were expecting," said Lehman. "You have to give him credit because he really gave them a lift in the first half."
White, whose previous career-high was 11 points, also hounded Defiance's Bryn Lehman (nine-plus points per game) on defense to a 2-of-13 shooting night and scoreless until the final two minutes of play.
"Whitey's offense was huge, but he did a great job on defense against Lehman and that was even bigger for us," said Celina coach Chris Bihn. "He was aggressive on both ends of the floor and made things happen for us."
The second half was a grind for Celina as the home team made just three field goals (in 12 attempts) during the final two quarters as Defiance kept the Green and White at the free-throw line. Celina was 22-of-33 from the charity stripe (17-of-26 in the second half) while Defiance was just 6-of-9.
"Without a doubt, that hurt us," admitted coach Lehman about the free-throw disparity. "I thought that they were a little more aggressive in getting to the basket and that kind of an advantage is hard to overcome."
Michael Sommer had nine points and Dorsten added seven markers for Celina while Alex Keel was the lone Defiance player in double figures with 11 points.
Celina is back in action again tonight on the road Lima Central Catholic.