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Friday, January 23rd, 2009

Offense clicking for Bulldogs

By Ryan Hines

Celina's Cenzie Yoder, back left, and Cayla Hellwarth, 14, trap Shawnee's Kieona. . .

Celina's inside-outside scoring punch of Candra Francis and Cenzie Yoder were too much for Shawnee as the Bulldogs posted an impressive Western Buckeye League victory over the Indians at the Fieldhouse on Thursday night.
Francis and Yoder combined for 43 points and 15 rebounds to carry Celina past Shawnee, 65-51, as the Bulldogs gave the Indians their first league loss of the season.
Celina's win over Shawnee leaves Bath, ranked number-one in the state in Division II, as the lone unbeaten team in the WBL standings (13-0, 4-0 WBL) with Wapakoneta (11-1), the Bulldogs (8-3) and the Indians (6-4) in a three-way tie for second place at 3-1 in league play.
The Bulldogs had one of their better offensive performances of the season against Shawnee hitting 23-of-44 from the field (53 percent) and 14-of-17 from the three-throw line for the second-highest point total this season.
While the whole team was clicking when it came to shooting the ball, it was Francis and Yoder that consistently dissected the Indians' defense.
Francis hit five-of-eight from three-point range on the way to a game-high 24 points while Yoder dominated play in the paint with 19 points and 10 rebounds.
"It's so nice to see the offense run like it did tonight, because it really makes the game easier for the girls when you come out ready to shoot like we did tonight," said Celina head coach Brian Stetler. "Candra found her shooting stroke early and Cenzie came out aggressive again to score some points in the paint for us. It opened up the floor have the balance of our inside and outside game."
"When I can hit a couple early, it really helps my confidence and then I got on a little bit of a roll," said Francis.
In addition to Francis and Yoder, Gina Everman also hit for double figures in points with 11 points while Katelyn Moorman came off the bench with a season-best five points.
"The nice thing was that we got positive contributions from a lot of people," said Stetler. "We think that we have the type of balance to where any number of girls can come out and step up for us on the offensive end and score."
The two WBL rivals matched early other point-for-point for a quarter and a half, before the Bulldogs attacked the Shawnee fullcourt pressure for a game-changing run.
With the score tied at 20-20 with 5:27 to play in the second quarter, Celina went on a 10-0 run for a 30-20 Bulldogs lead. Everman had a three-point play off a nice pass from Moorman on the fastbreak while Francis buried a pair of three-pointers to highlight the spurt.  
Shawnee never got closer than seven points the rest of the way and the lead got as big as 16 points as the Bulldogs coasted throughout most of the second half.
Stetler feels that this win was important in the WBL race.
"You can't afford to fall two games behind Bath with the type of team that they have, but they still have to play some good teams yet this year, so to stay one-game back is big for us," said Stetler.
Shawnee head coach Jeff Heistan says that the WBL race is a one-team race.
"Let's be honest, there is no real race in the WBL this year," said Heistan. "Bath is just on a different level with the type of offensive weapons that they have. Who are we kidding, it's a one-team race."
Celina is back in action again next Thursday with a road game at Kenton.
Additional online stories on this date
Area residents may be confused to learn that in today's bleak economy their home and property values have increased - a factor that may be reflected on real estate tax bills coming out this month. [More]
NEW BREMEN - Coaching a group of veteran ball players, New Bremen girls basketball coach Dave McFeely has found out this season that when he calls a timeout, it's not necessary to scream and yell when a gentle reminder seems to work just fine. [More]
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