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Saturday, December 29th, 2012

St. Henry, Bryan rally for victories

Asset Allocation Associates Inc. Holiday Classic

By Ryan Hines

St. Henry's Kyle Stahl, 0, shoots over Celina's Arik Fickert for two of his care. . .

COLDWATER - A pair of double-digit comebacks highlighted the opening night of the inaugural Asset Allocation Associates Inc. Holiday Classic on Friday night at The Palace in Coldwater.
Bryan rallied from a 12-point deficit and Sean Culler hit a game-winning turnaround jumper with five seconds left in the first game to lift the Golden Bears to a 54-52 victory over Coldwater.
The nightcap was even more dramatic as St. Henry overcame a 10-point deficit behind the play of Kyle Stahl, who capped a career-best performance with a three-pointer at the buzzer to propel the Redskins to a 59-56 win over Celina.
Bryan (4-3) and St. Henry (7-1) will face off in the championship game tonight at approximately 7:30 p.m. while Coldwater (1-3) and Celina (1-5) will play in the consolation matchup at 6 p.m.

The Golden Bears saved their best for the second half after trailing by as many as 12 points during a dismal first two quarters of play.
Bryan shot just 8-of-31 (26 percent) in the first half but opened the second half with a 13-2 run to grab its first lead of the game at 32-30 at the 4:19 mark of the third quarter.
Coldwater's Mitch Schoenherr scored six points late in the third quarter to give the Cavaliers a 40-39 lead going into the final eight minutes of play but the lead was short-lived.
Bryan scored the first seven points of the final quarter and the Golden Bears were in control with a 48-42 lead midway through the fourth quarter before an 8-2 spurt by the Cavaliers tied the game at 50-50 with just 1:01 to play in the game.
Culler converted an offensive rebound into two points to give Bryan a 52-50 lead with 48 seconds on the clock, but Coldwater's Austin Bruns tied the game for the sixth time of the night with a short jumper off the glass with 38 seconds remaining in the game.
On Bryan's final possession, Thomas Martin had the ball on the wing and penetrated to the basket. His running six-footer was off the mark and his putback off an offensive rebound bounced off the rim and into the hands of Culler, who buried a seven-foot turnaround jumper from the left side of the lane with five seconds to play in the game.
"We got Thomas going to the rim and that's what we wanted, but he missed a couple of opportunities and Sean was in the right place at the right time and he made a play," said Bryan's head coach Doug Billman.
Culler's game-winning putback was the 16th offensive rebound of the game for the Golden Bears.
"I thought our effort was much better in the second half. We got some offensive rebounds and we were able to turn them into points," said Billman. "We really try to get after offensive rebounds. We got some in the first half but didn't convert them but we did a much better of scoring off second chances in the second half."
"This was a very disappointing loss for us, especially with the way Bryan was able to score the ball on offensive rebounds," said Coldwater's head coach Mike Bruns. "Offensive rebounds are all about effort and we just didn't get the job done."
Coldwater quickly got the ball to Derek Thobe, who tried a heave from just inside the halfcourt line that was off the mark as the final buzzer sounded.
Martin scored a game-high 16 points and added a game-high 10 rebounds to pace Bryan and Jake Jones had 11 points while Culler scored all seven of his points in the second half.
Schoenherr led Coldwater with 15 points while Bruns added 10 points. Coldwater shot 11-of-22 from the field (50 percent) in the first half but converted just 8-of-25 from the floor (32 percent) in the final two quarters.
"We were playing like zombies out there in the second half. I'm not sure if it's physically or mentally right now," said Bruns. "It's not just the late start for us anymore. We weren't aggressive in the second half and that's the most disappointing part of tonight. We just weren't there in the second half."
Celina had a 10-point lead on three different occasions during the first half of the game, but St. Henry methodically chipped away at the deficit and trailed by just one point at 52-51 with just 2:48 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Stahl hit a short jumper off the glass at the 2:11 mark to give St. Henry its first lead since an 8-5 advantage in the first quarter, but Celina's Grant Laffin canned a 12-footer to give the Bulldogs a 54-53 lead with 1:46 on the clock.
St. Henry's Alex Post then had the ball in the corner on the Redskins' next possession, and after holding the ball for about five seconds, he launched a three-pointer and connected to give his team a 56-54 lead with 1:19 remaining in the game.
After Braden Billger calmly buried a pair of free throws with 52 seconds on the clock to tie the score at 56-56, St. Henry was willing to hold the ball for a final shot.
After having already scored 26 points in the first 31 minutes of the game, it was no secret that St. Henry wanted the ball in the hands of Stahl on the final possession.
St. Henry's point guard Ryan Mikesell was harassed by Celina's defense deep in the backcourt before the Redskins' sophomore was finally able to find an opening with about six seconds left in the game. Mikesell was double-teamed about 15-feet from the basket, so he dumped the ball to Stahl on the wing and he buried a three-pointer as the buzzer sounded to lift the Redskins to the victory.
"We didn't want to call a timeout late because we didn't want to give Celina a chance to set up one of their trapping defenses because they are so good at it," said St. Henry's head coach Eric Rosenbeck. "We wanted to get a screen for Kyle and have him get the ball somewhere around 10 feet from the basket, but that didn't happen. We kind of scrambled then and Kyle had his feet set and knocked it down."
Stahl, who scored a career-high 29 points and added a game-high nine rebounds, was 0-for-2 on three-point attempts before his game-winner.
"I miss three-pointers all the time," said Stahl. "I didn't really sweat it. My teammates trust me and I was able to knock it down after a great pass from Ryan."
Kent Hemmelgarn was the only other St. Henry player in double figures with 10 points.
Matt Buschur was 5-of-5 from the floor and 2-of-2 from the free-throw line to lead Celina with 12 points while Ryan Hoyng and Mason Ross each netted 10 points.
Celina has held a lead in every game this season but has lost five straight games.
"I think it's the little things right now that are killing us and it's not just one thing. If it was just one thing, we would work on it and correct it, but it's not. We have to learn how to win and we are struggling with that right now," said Celina's head coach Chris Bihn.
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