Monday, February 2nd, 2009
Harlamert free throw lifts Cavs past Bulldogs
By Ryan Hines
Coldwater's Tony Harlamert, with ball, is trapped by Celina's Darin Waterman, le. . .
COLDWATER - When you look at the box score of the Celina/Coldwater boys basketball game from Saturday night, Tony Harlamert's statistical line isn't impressive.
Harlamert finished 0-for-1 from the field and 1-of-2 from the free-throw line with three rebounds and one just point.
That one point was a very important point as it came with 2.6 seconds to play in the fourth quarter and it lifted the Coldwater Cavaliers to a 50-49 victory over Celina at The Palace in a matchup of Mercer County rivals.
The game was as tight as the score indicates as the Cavs and Bulldogs battled back-and-forth with both teams holding leads throughout the game.
Harlamert's free throw came at just the right time for Cavaliers fans.
Celina had the ball with the score tied at 49-49 and the Bulldogs have had a knack for pulling out close games in the waning seconds.
The Bulldogs worked the ball to Derek Gagle at the top of the key with teammate Darin Waterman to rub off of a Gagle screen with a possible handoff as the design of the play. Just as Shawnee did a week ago, Waterman was guarded tightly and Gagle shot a turnaround jumper from just inside the three-point line.
Gagle's jumper was off the mark with about four seconds to play in the game and Harlamert grabbed the long rebound before being fouled by Gagle with 2.6 seconds to play in the game.
Harlamert missed the first free throw of the two-shot opportunity, but calmly made the second to give the Cavaliers a one-point lead.
"Tony has been in some pretty tough situations from football and I was glad to see him step up and hit a big free throw for us," said Coldwater head coach Mike Kanney. "We missed some free throws down the stretch that would have helped make it a little easier, but it's a team game and we had people step up."
Celina had one last chance to win the game as Gagle inbounded the pass to Waterman, who took the pass out of bounds, and then tried to find a streaking Gagle down the floor but the pass was intercepted by the Coldwater defense as the horn went off.
"I think that the biggest thing for us tonight is that we didn't respond well to adversity and didn't do the things we needed to do when things weren't going our way," said Celina head coach Chris Bihn. "We have been making plays late in games up to this point in the season and we just didn't make those plays tonight. It's a tough game to lose when you feel like you should have come away with a win."
It truly was a game that could have gone either way as the two teams shot the same percentage from the field and were very close in nearly all statistical categories.
Eric Lefeld led Coldwater with 15 points and 10 rebounds while Zach Siefring added 14 points.
Celina, which was playing without an injured Jared Bader (pulled groin), was led by the one-two punch of Waterman and Gagle. Waterman hit for a career-high 24 points, with six treys, while Gagle added 18 points. The Bulldogs played most of the game without the services of second-leading scorer Jake Green, who was in foul trouble for most of the game. Green, who averages almost 17 points per game, was called for his fourth foul at the 7:26 mark of the fourth quarter and was sent to the locker room by Bihn after Green threw a water battle to the floor and it splashed onto the court. Green finished with zero points on 0-for-1 shooting from the floor.
Celina is back in action again on Friday with a home contest at the Fieldhouse against Elida. Coldwater will travel to Division IV top-ranked New Knoxville on Friday night.