Monday, February 22nd, 2010
By Ryan Hines
Indians knock off 'Dogs in regular-season finale
FORT RECOVERY - An inability to take care of the basketball and foul trouble by its best player cost Celina a chance to finish the regular season with a victory.
Fort Recovery's defense forced an eye-popping 35 turnovers and the Indians dominated play when Celina's Cenzie Yoder wasn't on the floor en route to a convincing 59-46 win over the Bulldogs at Fort Site Fieldhouse on Saturday afternoon.
Both teams now turn their attention to the postseason. Fort Recovery (14-5) has a bye as the number-one seed at the Division III Sectional at Van Wert and the Indians will wait to play on Saturday at 6:15 p.m. against the winner of Fairview/Lima Central Catholic. Celina (13-7) must regroup quickly as the Bulldogs open the Division II tournament on Tuesday at Spencerville against Ottawa-Glandorf at approximately 8 p.m. following the Shawnee-Elida matchup.
Turnovers hampered Celina all game long, but Fort Recovery led by just two points at halftime, 28-26. The Indians opened the second half with a deuce from Chelsey Leuthold, but Celina scored six straight points to take a 32-30 lead.
It turned out to be the last lead of the game for Celina as Yoder was called for her fourth foul at the 4:56 mark of the third quarter. With Yoder sitting on the bench, Fort Recovery closed the third quarter with 14 straight points and the Indians held a 44-32 lead going into the final eight minutes of action.
Fort Recovery shot just 1-of-9 to start the third quarter but then made 5-of-7 during the game-changing run as Kendra Brunswick scored six of her eight points to lead the Indians' charge.
"The way that we played today - physical and up tempo - is the way that we have to play to be successful," said Fort Recovery head coach Doug Bihn. "Playing against Celina is a huge difference when Yoder isn't on the floor. She's a beast out there that can score and when she gets the ball on the block, she's money. She's a big scorer and strong defender for them, but she also does a great job of breaking pressure for them by bringing the ball up the floor and without her out there, I think that our pressure really got to them."
Yoder started the fourth quarter on the floor for the Bulldogs and scored eight quick points before fouling out of the game with 1:37 left on the clock with Fort Recovery on top 53-46. The Indians then scored the final six points of the game to earn the 13-point victory.
"We got back into the game after their big run in the third quarter, but just didn't have enough firepower to come all the way back," said Celina head coach Brian Stetler.
Stetler admitted that Yoder's foul trouble was a big factor in the game, but the number of turnovers is what stood out to the Bulldogs' mentor.
"Cenzie's foul trouble hurt us without her on the floor at key times, but we had way too many turnovers today. You have to take care of the ball and we didn't do a very good job of that," said Stetler. "Fort Recovery brings a lot of pressure and they play as good a defense as most teams that we play. They deserve a lot of credit for their defense, because they make you speed up and play faster than you probably want to at times. Their pressure was really good. Even when we broke their press, then we would turn it over in the halfcourt. Just too many turnovers to beat a good team like Fort Recovery."
Leuthold paced Fort Recovery to the win with stellar play on both ends of the floor. The Indians' senior forward netted a game-high 21 points (11-of-14 free throws), pulled down a game-best 10 rebounds and added seven steals.
"Chelsey has been a heckuva player for us throughout her career and we have come to expect so much from here," said Bihn. "The best thing is that she gives great effort on both sides of the floor and it showed in her play today."
Holly Brunswick joined Leuthold in double figures for the Indians with 11 points. Yoder led Celina with 16 points and nine rebounds while Abbey Welker scored all 11 of her points in the first half.
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