Wednesday, January 20th, 2010
By Ryan Hines
Brand carries Flyers past Bulldogs
Marion Local's standout scores 12 of her game-high 24 in the fourth
  MARIA STEIN - A pair of Mercer County teams that currently lead their respective leagues battled for local bragging rights in a nonconference matchup on Tuesday night at The Hangar.
Midwest Athletic Conference co-leader Marion Local rallied around standout Katrina Brand to knock off Western Buckeye League co-leader Celina, 56-47.
Marion Local is now 9-3 on the season entering Thursday's battle against undefeated Delphos St. John's with the winner holding at least a share of the MAC lead. Celina, which has lost two of its last three games, is now 8-3 and will look to stay on top of the WBL standings with a road matchup against Van Wert on Thursday.
The Flyers can claim local bragging rights over the Bulldogs thanks to the play of Brand in the fourth quarter as the 6-3 senior scored 12 of her game-high 24 points in the final 4:31 of the game.
"If I had a 6-3 person like they do, I would feed it to her too like they did late," said Celina head coach Brian Stetler. "She is a good player and tough to defend."
Marion Local, which led by as many as 12 points in the third quarter, had to withstand a charge by Celina early in the fourth quarter. The Flyers led 40-32 going into the final stanza, but Abbey Welker scored the first five points of the final quarter and Cenzie Yoder hit a driving layup at the 5:10 mark giving Celina a 41-40 advantage. It was the first time that the Bulldogs led in the game since the 3:42 point of the second quarter.
The Celina lead didn't last long as the Flyers committed to feeding the ball to Brand the rest of the way and she scored the next nine consecutive points to push Marion Local in front, 49-41, with 3:03 remaining in the game.
"I thought that we got a lot more patient at the end of the game and concentrated on giving her (Brand) the ball in the post," said Fortkamp. "We reversed the ball and got her in one-on-one situations and she took advantage of the opportunities. I like that fact that we didn't panic when we went down by one."
"At that particular point, I thought that momentum and adrenaline would kick in for us when we made the comeback to take the lead in the fourth quarter," said Stetler. "Execution was the biggest problem for us tonight. We didn't execute in key situations and Marion did....That was the difference."
Celina's Gina Everman and Candra Francis each canned a three-pointer in the final three minutes of action, but Marion Local hit five-of-eight free throws down the stretch to prevent any Bulldog comeback. Marion Local did a good job at the free-throw line all evening connecting on 18-of-26 from the charity stripe in the game.
Brand was the lone Marion Local player to reach double figures in scoring but Margaret Wuebker and Alyssa Winner added nine and eight points, respectively.
Welker paced Celina with 15 points and added a game-high nine rebounds while Francis contributed 11 points. Yoder struggled all evening against the size of Marion Local's frontline as the Bulldogs' leading scorer (15.5 points per game) was held to just nine points (4-of-13 shooting from the field and one-of-five from the free-throw line) before fouling out in the fourth quarter.
"When she (Yoder) got the ball down low, we doubled down and did a good job on making it difficult for her," said Fortkamp.
Additional online stories for this date
Print edition only stories for this date
• Commissioners tell officials to be thrifty
• Mercer County treasurer to retire in March after 13 years on the job
• Street projects to cost 1.13 million
• St. Henry schools revenues, expenses go down slightly
• Reason for not participating in grant explained
• Review could take 7 months
• Plan to do canal tile work OK'd
• Midwest installs digital meters
• Alliance provides healthcare benefits
• Celina earns a split of two matches on the mats
• Indians pick up 10th win of season
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