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Friday, December 29th, 2017

Cavs cruise to title

Bulldogs hold on to beat Flyers for first victory

By Gary R. Rasberry

Coldwater players and coaches pose with the championship plaque after winning th. . .

CELINA - After a nail-biter of a consolation game, the championship game of the 32nd OVISCO Classic proved to be a one-sided contest.
Coldwater jumped out to a 25-9 first quarter lead and never looked back in winning the championship for a third straight season in a 73-47 win over St. Henry on Thursday night at the Fieldhouse.
In the consolation game, Celina built up a lead against Marion Local and then hung on for dear life for the last 1 1/2 quarters to win its first game of the season in a 56-52 contest.
CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
Coldwater 73, St. Henry 47
The teams each scored a bucket in the first minute of play, but when Kourtney Diller drained a three-pointer with 6:11 remaining in the quarter, that signaled to the Cavaliers to crank up the intensity. The Coldwater pressure defense provided plenty of points as part of a 16-2 run that turned a 5-2 lead into an 18-4 spread in just three minutes. St. Henry turned over the ball six times in the first quarter and Coldwater drove to the basket with ease, scoring either by way of layups or via the foul line thanks to a 6-of-9 effort from the stripe.
"We had a game plan and we're starting to get our transition game going a bit," Coldwater coach Connie May said. "That's what makes us better. That first group (starters) did a good job getting us going."
"We couldn't get our offense going in the first half," St. Henry coach Wendi Moorman said. "Their defense had us rattled and we couldn't get shots to fall."
St. Henry had nearly as many turnovers (12) as shot attempts (16) in the first half. The Cavaliers had one of its better shooting performances in the first half, making 16-of-35 while out-rebounding the Redskins 20-12,
"It starts with those transition buckets," May said. "You hit those layups and (then) you get your confidence (to shoot) elsewhere on the floor. I thought we did a great job on the rebounding end, too. That's where our transition starts."
St. Henry was able to get its shooting on track in the second half, but Coldwater answered the Redskins point for point in the second half. The Cavaliers outscored the Redskins 30-29 in the final 16 minutes of play.
"We played pretty even with them in the second half," Moorman said. "We were able to execute a little better and stepped up our defense to contain some of those (Coldwater) shots."
Diller led the Cavaliers with 21 points. Lauren Gilliland added 14 points and Olivia Harlamert scored 11.
Alyssa Buschur scored 10 of her team-high 12 points in the third quarter to lead St. Henry (7-3), which snapped a five-game winning streak. Allison Siefring finished with 10.
CONSOLATION GAME
Celina 56, Marion Local 52
Last season, the Bulldogs needed to shut out St. Henry in the fourth quarter of the OVISCO consolation game to earn their only win of the season.
Thursday night was a bit different for Celina as the Bulldogs took the lead late in the first quarter and never trailed afterwards.
Celina used a zone defense to counter the inside play of Kara Evers and Brooke Homan, forcing the Flyers to try and open up the defense with some outside shooting. Marion struggled with its shooting in the first half, making just 7-of-27 from the floor and 2-of-10 from the three-point line.
Celina, behind a spectacular effort from Lauren Jackson, who scored 17 points in the opening half, led 26-20 at the half and then raised the lead to 34-24 with 4:51 left in the third quarter before Jackson picked up her third personal foul with 3:38 left in the quarter and had to take a seat.
Without Jackson, who was able to break the press and cause some mismatches on the drive, Celina struggled as Natalie Rethman and Kara Evers hit some big baskets that whittled away at the Celina lead. Makenna Klingshirn's bucket with 27 seconds left allowed Celina to make it through the quarter with a 36-33 lead.
"A lot of the girls did what they needed to do," Celina coach Brandon Steinke said. "We didn't make any terrible mistakes where we could hold on and get (Jackson) back in the game."
Jackson, who returned to the lineup to start the fourth quarter, lasted just 20 seconds before picking up her fourth foul and forcing Steinke to bring her back to the bench. Again, the Flyers started whittling away before Homan scored with 4 1/2 minutes left in regulation to tie the game at 41-all. Jackson quickly returned to the lineup and paid dividends right away with two free throws to break the tie with 3:48 left to play. Try as the Flyers might to get a tie or even take a lead down the stretch, Celina held tough when the Bulldogs went to the foul line. Celina was 7-of-8 in the final three minutes of the game to hold on for the win.
"That was one of our keys: to compete for four quarters," Steinke said. "We've competed for one, two and once for three quarters, but never for all four quarters. A couple of times, all the momentum was going against us and we were able to find a way to put some baskets up. That's what won us the game, competing for all four quarters."
Jackson finished with 23 points. Maddy Luebke added 12 points.
Natalie Rethman scored 20 to lead the Flyers (2-9). Evers added 10 points.
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