Wednesday, February 21st, 2007
By Ryan Hines
Celina, St. Marys fight through semis
LIMA - Celina and St. Marys will be playing for Division II sectional crowns on Saturday night after the Bulldogs and Roughriders picked up wins on Tuesday night at Lima Senior High School.
The Bulldogs, playing for the fourth time in the last eight days, fought through their own struggles on the way to a 47-30 win over Kenton while St. Marys outplayed Van Wert in the fourth quarter on the way to a 36-31 victory.
Celina (11-10) will now meet second-seeded Lima Shawnee on Saturday night at 6: 15 p.m. back at Lima Senior while St. Marys will follow, at approximately 8:15 p.m., with a matchup against the top-seeded and Western Buckeye League champion Wapakoneta Redskins.
Celina 47, Kenton 30
The Bulldogs looked like a tired team in the early going before blowing open a tight game in the fourth quarter.
Kenton trailed by seven points entering the fourth quarter, but Celina ended any comeback hopes for the Wildcats with a 9-0 run to start the fourth quarter giving the Bulldogs a comfortable 40-24 lead with five minutes left to play in the game.
Celina's inside game was the difference in the game-changing Bulldogs spurt. Cenzie Yoder had five points during the run while Liz Homan added four more markers.
"We got more patient with our offense and began to rotate the ball to the other side of the floor and were able to find our post players," said Celina head coach Brian Stetler. "We worked on that in practice and didn't seem to do it much in the first three quarters, but once we did it in the fourth quarter, we were successful."
The Wildcats got no closer than 12 points the rest of the game.
While Celina had trouble taking advantage of its advantage in the post through the first three quarters, Kenton's Anne Derr kept her team within striking distance scoring a team-best 16 points. Derr was the lone offensive weapon for Kenton as no other player had more than six points.
Celina had balance on its side with three players in double figures. Homan led all Bulldogs with 14 points while Yoder and Betsy Hone contributed 13 points apiece.
St. Marys 36, Van Wert 31
Trailing by seven points entering the fourth quarter, St. Marys looked like its postseason run was over before it started.
However, the Roughriders responded with a dominant fourth-quarter performance as Van Wert wilted on both ends of the floor.
St. Marys was down 30-23 entering the final stanza but Lea Mackenbach drilled a trey and Steph Platt hit a layup to pull the Roughriders within two points at 30-28.
Van Wert then missed the front end of two straight one-and-one opportunities and Kayla Thornsberry tied the game for the Roughriders with a deuce at the 2:25 mark of the fourth quarter.
The Cougars went up by a point after a Hannah Phlipot free throw, but St. Marys scored the next six points capping a 13-1 fourth-quarter advantage for the Roughriders.
Emily Shellabarger gave St. Marys the lead with a turnaround jumper in the lane before Emily Steva drained two free throws, her only two points of the game, for a three-point Roughriders advantage.
"You really can't say enough about her going to the line and knocking down those free throws," said St. Marys head coach Tim Niekamp. "Those were big free throws and she calmly knocked them down."
St. Marys forced a jump ball on Van Wert's next possession giving the ball back to the Roughriders and Mackenbach hit a pair of free throws to provide the final margin of victory for the Blue and Gold.
Shellabarger, who crashed into a water cooler on the sidelines during the third quarter causing a delay with a wet floor, led all scorers for St. Marys with 12 points while Mackenbach added 11 points, including a trio of trifectas.
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