Saturday, January 24th, 2009
By Ryan Hines
Gagle jumper at the buzzer gives Celina win
LIMA - A career-best performance by Jake Green and a couple of clutch plays from Derek Gagle helped Celina escape Lappin Gymnasium with a victory over Lima Shawnee on Friday night in Western Buckeye League play.
Gagle's 19-foot turnaround jumper at the buzzer in overtime lifted Celina to a 62-60 triumph which leaves the Bulldogs all alone on top of the WBL standings.
Celina (9-3, 4-0 WBL) is the lone unbeaten in the WBL, thanks to Elida's 58-55 win over Ottawa-Glandorf. Shawnee (7-2, 2-1 WBL), O-G (9-1, 2-1 WBL) and Defiance (7-3, 2-1 WBL) are all tied for second-place.
Gagle, who also hit a pair of free throws with 3.6 seconds to play in regulation to force overtime, improvised on the final play of the game before silencing the home crowd.
"When I got the ball, there were about four seconds left and we were looking to get Darin (Waterman) the ball on a hand off at the top of the key, but Cody (Smith) was right on Darin, so I kept the ball and then tried to get a good look at the basket," said Gagle, who referred to the play as a triple-option handoff.
Gagle's free throws and game-winning jumper came after Shawnee turnovers in the final seconds of regulation and overtime.
"We definitely had our chances, but we had all of our kids have brain dead moments tonight and they came at big moments," said Shawnee head coach Nick Bertke.
Gagle made the clutch plays down the stretch for the Bulldogs, but the play of Green kept Celina within striking distance for all four quarters. Green hit for a career-high 29 points as Shawnee had no answer for the 6-6 Celina senior.
"Jake played amazing out there for us with 29 points, he did exactly what we wanted him to do," said Gagle. "When he goes to the basket, like he did tonight, nobody can stop him."
Shawnee led for nearly the entire game, but Gagle hit a three-pointer with 11.1 seconds to play in the fourth quarter to pull Celina to within two points at 56-54 leading to a Bulldogs timeout.
Celina applied fullcourt pressure out of the timeout and Shawnee's Jacob Meyers fumbled away the inbounds pass with 8.3 seconds remaining on the clock giving the Bulldogs one final chance.
Gagle took the ensuing inbounds pass and used a screen about 20-feet away from the basket and Meyers was called for a block on the play putting the Celina lefty on the line for a one-and-one opportunity with the game on the line.
It was the only trip to the free-throw line for Gagle in the game, but he calmly hit them both and a Shawnee desperation heave from halfcourt was off the mark as the buzzer sounded to force overtime.
"As much as we shoot free throws in practice, I really didn't feel the pressure at the line or the nerves, it's all routine," said Gagle.
Shawnee had a two-point lead on two occasions in overtime, but a Darin Waterman layup and a pair of Green free throws left the score tied at 60-60 with 1:47 to play.
The Indians decided to pull the ball out on the perimeter and milk the clock until there were 12 seconds left to play and then Smith was called for traveling with 7.9 seconds in the game giving the ball back to the Bulldogs.
"We play good team defense and we felt that we could get a stop on their final possession," said Gagle. "Our defense set us up with a chance to win the game."
The final play didn't go exactly the way that Bihn was expecting, but he sure did like the results.
"What I preferred to get on the play was Darin getting the hand off from Gagle and then finding Jake on the opposite block for a layup, but they defended the hand off well and we had to adjust," said Bihn. "I'll take what we got though, it's a big win for us."
In addition to Green's 29 points, Gagle finished with 15 points as the only two Bulldogs in double figures.
Garrick Warthem led Shawnee with 23 points while Smith added 17 points and Marcus Lowe 11 points.
Celina is back in action again next Friday with a home contest against Kenton at the Fieldhouse.
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