Friday, December 31st, 2010
Bulldogs win tourney for the 13th time
30th Annual HALLiday Shootout
By Ryan Hines
Celina's Kahl Knapke, 11, and Nate Bihn, 41, trap Bryan's Matt Wisler during Thu. . .
CELINA - Visitors to the Celina Fieldhouse have often said that the home of the Bulldogs is a difficult place to play.
It's even tougher when the home team has a sizzling night shooting the ball.
Celina shot 64 percent from the floor on the way to a convincing 68-53 win over Bryan in the championship game of the 30th annual HALLiday Shootout at the Fieldhouse on Thursday night.
It's the 13th time that Celina has won the tournament and the first time since 2008.
"The guys came in with a goal of winning this tournament and it feels good to see them go out and accomplish that goal," said Celina head coach Chris Bihn. "They lost in the championship game last year and I think that they were really hungry to win it this year."
Bryan finishes as the tourney runner-up for the third time in 10 appearances in the annual tournament (all three losses to Celina).
"Coming here is always tough for opposing teams, and when they shoot like they did the last two days, it makes it even tougher," said Bryan head coach Doug Billman. "They hurt us inside with their post players and then they hit the open perimeter shot when it was there. They are a good team that is tough to match up with because of their depth and balance."
Bryan had no answer for the Bulldogs' post players like John Homan, Greg Riemesch and Nate Bihn.
Homan, who was named MVP of the tournament, used his quick leaping ability and finished 8-of-11 from the floor (all within two feet of the basket) and finished with a team-high 16 points.
Riemesch's spin move in the paint was effective as the 6-6 senior made all six of his field-goal attempts and finished with 12 points while earning all-tournament honors.
Bihn, usually a wing player, made his presence felt in the paint with an assortment of post moves that led to 11 points and a game-high 13 rebounds.
Kahl Knapke was the fourth player for the Bulldogs to reach double figures as the lefty netted 10 points.
"The nice thing about our team is the balance that we have," said Homan, who scored 31 points in the two tourney games. "We have a lot of guys that can score and it's not just a one-man team."
"Who are you gonna guard?" asked Bihn when speaking about the balance of his team. "We like the options that we have and the versatility it gives us on the floor."
Celina finished hitting 28-of-44 from the floor (64 percent) while Bryan was held to just 32-percent shooting.
The Bulldogs jumped in front 8-0, but Bryan was able to stay close with the one-two scoring duo of Matt Wisler and Aaron Bruot. Wisler and Bruot each hit a pair of three-pointers that left the Golden Bears down just 18-16 after the first quarter of play.
A pair of three-pointers from Clayton Hoyng off the bench along with a three-point play by Bihn helped Celina grab a 33-28 advantage at halftime.
The Bulldogs quickly pushed their lead to double figures with a quick 6-0 spurt to start the second half, but Bryan pulled back to within five points thanks to a pair-of three-pointers by Wisler and Jacob Parker.
Celina then took control of the game in the final five minutes of the third quarter as the Bulldogs outscored the Golden Bears 15-3 for a 54-37 lead going into the final period. Knapke and Scott Moeder each hit a three-pointer to highlight the game-changing run by the Bulldogs.
"We made a little run to start the third quarter and then they answered; but then we kind of wore them down a little to end the third and we went on a nice run to take a comfortable lead," said Bihn.
Bryan never got closer than 10 points in the fourth quarter.
Joining Homan and Riemesch on the all-tournament team were Bryan's Wisler and Bruot along with Greenville's Chase Albright and Columbus Ready's Kyle Wilgus. Greenville beat Columbus Ready 43-40 in the consolation contest.