Monday, January 10th, 2011
By Robb Hemmelgarn
Minster is 10-0 with the season half over
MINSTER - With a brutal schedule awaiting coach Nann Stechschulte and her Minster Wildcats over the next two weeks, Saturday's 51-34 upending of the Celina Bulldogs was a delightful shot in the arm for the veteran coach, as her squad moves to 10-0 overall at the midway point of the season.
"This was an important win for us today," Stechschulte pointed out matter-of-factly. "I told the girls that we needed to start to catch some momentum at this point of the season, especially here on our home court. Thursday we host Parkway, but Saturday we travel to Berlin to face Minerva; and then the next week we go to both Fort Recovery and Ottoville. Fortunately we have been able to get a lot of players on the floor in our last two games, so hopefully this can help us in the long run and allow us to keep building that momentum."
The Wildcats fired out of the blocks with a mixed bag of defenses, each of which mercilessly nagged at the Bulldogs, who hit just 1-of-12 shots from the floor during the first period. At the conclusion of the opening quarter, Minster enjoyed a 13-4 advantage which was fueled by six points from senior Delanie Wolf.
"We had the chance to see Celina play a couple of times and knew they were young, so we felt that changing the defenses up throughout the game would benefit us," commented Stechschulte. "I think that when we went to our zone defense it forced them to be more patient, and I was happy with the lead we were able to build early in the game."
The Bulldogs seemingly shook off their offensive rust at the start of the second quarter when Christine Thobe and Danielle Bihn each drained buckets, coupled with a pair of free throws by Beth Homan to pull their team to within three points.
Unfortunately for Bulldog fans, the rally deflated when Minster picked up nine points over the final five minutes of the first half to secure a 22-10 command at intermission.
"Today we came in and were looking forward to playing a good team - anytime you play Minster you know they will be well-coached and will play hard, and that was no different today," Celina's head coach Brian Stetler expressed after his team's third loss of the season. "I felt we got off to a decent start in the second quarter, but much of the first half we just weren't able to stick it in the hole. We had good shots, but playing a team like Minster, we needed to hit them and we didn't."
If Stetler harbored any visions of a comeback, the Wildcats smashed them in a hurry when Wolf, Tara Clune, and Samantha Hoelscher opened the second half with field goals to extend their command to 18 points at 28-10.
Although the Bulldogs managed to outscore Minster 9-3 for the remainder of the period, the damage had already been inflicted, as the Wildcats cruised into the final quarter with a 14-point cushion, 33-19.
"We got down in the third quarter, but I was happy with the way the girls still battled," Stetler pointed out. "We are a young team and there are a lot of girls who see action, and in the last couple of games I have definitely seen things improve. We just need to have confidence in ourselves and start shooting the ball better."
The two teams traded punches for the final eight minutes, but Minster's Jayna Stechschulte and Heather Schmiesing, who combined for nine points in the stanza, made certain Celina snuck no closer.
"Defensively I am happy with how things went today, but offensively we missed a lot of lay ups and chip shots," Stechschulte observed. "I realize we are doing something right to get the opportunity to have those shots, but once we do get them we need to finish them off."
Wolf terrorized Celina with her game-high 16 points and eight rebounds, while Celina's Kylee Bader paced her team with seven points.
Celina (5-3) hosts Findlay on Tuesday, before heading east to St. Marys on Thursday for a Western Buckeye League battle.
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