Friday, March 2nd, 2007
By Ryan Hines
Celina's shooting goes ice cold in final three quarters
FINDLAY - It didn't take long for Ottawa-Glandorf to realize that Celina was a different team than it was on the first of February when the Titans prevailed by 22 points.
Celina controlled the first quarter of play with as much as a six-point lead, but Ottawa-Glandorf recovered with a great defensive effort over the final three quarters to defeat the Bulldogs, 47-39, in Division II district semifinals action at Findlay High School on Thursday night.
"The first time that we played them, we lost by 22 points and it was because we weren't ready to play, but since then, I think that we've been ready to play each game and we played much better down the stretch because of it," said Celina head coach Brian Stetler. "I was hoping that we could move a little further in the tournament, but our effort was there and we played hard until the horn sounded."
"I have to give Celina credit because they really came out with some intensity and I don't think that we were ready for that," admitted Ottawa-Glandorf head coach Lori Smith. "Celina's a good team with some talent and when they play that hard, they can give any team problems."
Celina senior Betsy Hone gave the Bulldogs a huge lift in the first quarter scoring nine points while helping the underdogs to a 14-10 lead after the first eight minutes of play.
However, Ottawa-Glandorf's defense controlled the game in the final three quarters as Celina struggled to find the shooting touch. Celina was 6-of-11 (55 percent) from the field in the first quarter but shot just 8-of-39 (20 percent) in the final three quarters of play. Hone, who was 4-of-4 in the first period was just 1-of-12 the rest of the way while finishing with a team-high 11 points.
"We started out the game shooting pretty well in the first quarter but we just couldn't hit much the rest of the way," said Stetler. "Our girls played hard and I was happy with their effort, but we just couldn't get the shots to fall. I thought we had some open looks, but we just couldn't knock them down."
Celina maintained its lead until midway through the second quarter and O-G took the lead for good on a circus one-handed shot, from behind the backboard, by Kristen Bingley as the buzzer sounded for halftime with the Titans in front 21-19.
The Bulldogs were able to tie the score at 23-23 early in the third quarter, but O-G went on a 7-0 run building a comfortable cushion.
"I think that the incredible shot by Kristen Bingley gave us a little momentum and a little hop in our steps and that was big because we needed a confidence lift at the point," said Smith.
Despite its shooting woes, Celina stayed in the game due to O-G's struggles at the free-throw line and the Bulldogs were within two points at 39-37 after a pair of free tosses from Amy Harner with just under two minutes left to play.
From that point on, though, Ottawa-Glandorf hit six straight free throws and Celina turned the ball over on two of its final three possessions allowing the Titans to escape with the win.
O-G hit just five of its first 14 from the free-throw line but then recovered to hit its final eight of the game.
"We shot a lot of free throws in practice, but you wouldn't have known it by watching tonight's game," said Smith. "Thank God we made them at the end, because in tight games if you don't make free throws, you don't win."
"They made their free throws down the stretch and that was the difference," said Stetler. "They kept us in the game earlier with their struggles at the line, but they hit them when they needed them at the end of the game."
Haley Ducey, who hit four straight free throws in the final minute of play to maintain the Titans' lead, led all scorers in the game with 12 points while teammate Madalyn Shalter added 10 points.
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