Monday, February 13th, 2012
By Mark Ruschau
Cardinals earn win at Celina's Fieldhouse
CELINA - The New Bremen Cardinals used a big first quarter and then made enough big plays over the final three periods to down the Celina Bulldogs 69-60 on Saturday night at the Fieldhouse.
With the game tied at nine midway through the first period, New Bremen outscored the Bulldogs 10-2 over the final four minutes to take a 19-11 lead that it would never relinquish.
Elliott Westerbeck gave the Cardinals the lead for good after hitting a jumper from the baseline, and the Cardinals' Parker Manger added a layup following a Celina turnover. After a Celina missed shot, Westerbeck hit another jumper, this time from the right wing and Carson Manger connected on a short jumper from the paint as the Cardinals surged ahead 17-9.
After a Celina timeout, Carson Manger hit a lay-in to extend New Bremen's lead to 10 points before Celina was able to cut the deficit to eight by the end the period.
New Bremen quickly built the lead to 13 at 24-11 early in the second quarter as Aaron Clune hit a three and Westerbeck hit a pair of free throws.
"We looked to score on every catch and we were very aggressive. We put the pressure on them and when they tried to put the pressure on us, we put the pressure right back on them," said New Bremen's coach Adam Daugherty. "Knocking down shots early helped. We had the right guys shooting our shots because we attacked the lane and we got rhythm shots. We did a lot of good things around the rim."
"They went on a little run and that really hurt us and that was really the game," said Celina's coach Chris Bihn. "The big thing was that we missed some layups, missed some easy looks and had some sloppy turnovers. We could not hold onto the ball. I think it came back to the physicality of this game. It was something that we did not handle as well as we should have. We were trying to hurry a little bit and we did not look the ball into our hands. I think that was the key to the game."
New Bremen maintained a double-digit lead through the first half of the second period before Celina made a late push before halftime. Trailing 34-23, the Bulldogs went on a 9-4 run to end the half as Braden Billger hit for five points to cut New Bremen's lead to 38-32.
Celina was unable to hold the momentum from its run to end the first half, as New Bremen came out and outscored the Bulldogs 12-6 over the first three minutes of the third quarter to push its lead to 50-38 after a Clune lay-in.
The Bulldogs closed the third period with another spurt and cut their deficit to 54-47 going into the final eight minutes of play. The Bulldogs briefly carried the momentum over to the final period as a Billger layup made it a five-point game at 54-49 with 6:47 left in the game.
The Bulldogs had three chances to cut into the Cardinals' lead even more but were unable to do so as Derek Waterman missed a three and then the Green and White turned the ball over twice. After a Clune basket rebuilt the New Bremen lead to 56-49, Justin Heitkamp came up with a big defensive play as he took a charge which led to a Westerbeck jumper that made the score 58-49 with 4:02 on the clock.
New Bremen was able to close the deal by hitting 9-of-12 from the free-throw line in the fourth quarter, including a 4-of-4 showing by senior Luke Schwieterman.
"We would have made things a lot of easier on ourselves if we would have defended better, but we were able to guard a little better and made the plays at the end that mattered," said Daugherty. "We shot the ball with confidence at the free-throw line. Luke Schwieterman stepped up and hit some big free throws and those are things that we are going to have to have because good teams are going to deny our best shooters the ball."
Clune and Westerbeck led the way for New Bremen with 21 points apiece while Justin Heitkamp grabbed a game-high 15 rebounds and took three charges.
Senior Scott Moeder had a great game for Celina as he poured in a game-high 26 points, including 10-for-10 from the free-throw line. Ryan Hoyng added 11 points and Billger chipped in 10.
Celina (8-9) hits the road on Friday for a Western Buckeye League encounter at Elida. New Bremen (11-6) will travel to Rockford on Friday to take on the Parkway Panthers in Midwest Athletic Conference action.
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