Saturday, January 12th, 2008
By Ryan Hines
Shawnee's big three too much for Celina
Shawnee was the popular preseason pick to win the Western Buckeye League boys basketball crown and Celina fans saw why on Friday night at the Fieldhouse.
Despite a strong effort from the home team, Shawnee improved to 10-1 on the season following a 72-56 win over Celina.
The Indians remain tied for the lead in the WBL with a perfect 4-0 mark while Celina slips to 4-7 overall on the season and 1-3 in league play.
"I'm tickled to death to be where we are in the league," said Shawnee head coach Nick Bertke. "Wins and losses are important, but I'm really happy with the way that our kids are competing. I told our coaches before the game that I would be happy with a one- or two-point win tonight, because we know that winning on the road in the league is tough to do."
Shawnee just had too much firepower for the Bulldogs to contend with as the Indians' trio of Cody Smith, Brent Farley and Jerin Butler combined to score 56 points.
Smith had the hot hand from long range as the sophomore point guard hit four treys as part of his game-high 24 points.
"He has played a lot of basketball and we expect a lot out of him even though he's just a sophomore," said Bertke. "He runs the point for us and had a nice offensive night for us. He shot the ball well and our guys were able to find him for some open looks and he knocked them down."
"We got caught a couple of different times helping out on other players and we needed to do a better job of finding him because he was shooting the ball so well," said Celina head coach Chris Bihn. "He did a nice job of moving and relocating to find the open spot in our defense. We lost track of him too many times and he hurt us."
Farley was the low post threat for the Indians shooting a perfect 7-of-7 from the field to go along with three free throws for 17 points.
Jerin Butler, the younger brother of former Shawnee standout and current Ohio State point guard Jamar Butler, played the mid-range game and finished with 14 points.
"We've been playing pretty consistently and getting a lot of different people involved in the offense," said Bertke. "We've had seven guys hit for double figures on our team this year and the balance has been a good thing for our team."
Bihn was impressed with what he saw out of Shawnee.
"I tell you what, they are a good team," said Bihn. "Then they bring guys off the bench that are just as good as their starters and they don't lose anything when they go to their bench."
Celina hung with Shawnee for three quarters, even holding the lead over the Indians briefly in the second quarter, but the visitors answered every run the Bulldogs had to offer.
The highlight of the night for the home team came in the second quarter when Shawnee was nursing a 26-22 lead. Michael Sommer hit a pair of free throws to pull Celina to within two points and then Bulldog big man Brent Riemesch sent the crowd into a frenzy with a three-pointer giving the home team its only lead of the night at 28-27 with 4:24 left in the second quarter.
The Celina lead was short-lived, though, as Shawnee got eight straight points before halftime to take a 34-27 advantage into the intermission. Butler scored four points during the spurt to vault the Indians back into the lead.
"We hit a couple of big shots after they took the lead and we were able to extend the lead just before halftime and that was huge," said Bertke.
Celina could get no closer than four points the rest of the way before Shawnee turned a close contest into a blowout with a strong fourth quarter.
"We played right with them for three, three and a half quarters, but they are a good team and made the plays necessary to win the game tonight. That's what good teams do," said Bihn.
Sommer had the biggest offensive night for the Bulldogs with 20 points while Derek Gagle also reached double figures with 14 points, but shot just 5-of-15 from the floor.
Celina will take the floor again next Friday with a road contest at Kenton.
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