By RYAN HINES
Coaches normally say that it takes longer for the offense to
get going than it does for the defense to kick in.
That was the case at the Fieldhouse on Friday night as Celina
used a smothering defense to down Piqua, 43-23 in the season
opener for both squads.
Piqua, which had been an up tempo team the past three seasons
under head coach Russ Sponsel, tried to execute a halfcourt
offense against Celina but the Bulldogs’ defense dictated
what happened in this matchup.
The methodical style of Piqua didn’t bother Celina right
from the start as the Bulldogs got four quick points inside
from Adam Tindall and a trey from Tim Homan to jump out 7-0
before Piqua was able to dent the scoreboard with a free throw.
“We expected them to try and take the game into more of
a halfcourt attack because that’s what they had talked
about doing this year,” said Celina head coach Mike Kanney.
“Once our kids got adjusted to the style of play, they
played hard and got the win.”
“This is a new offense for us this year,” pointed
out Sponsel. “It usually takes a couple of months for
the players to adjust to a new offense like this, but we are
capable of doing it.”
That was the last point that Piqua scored in the first quarter
as Homan got the Celina fans on their feet with a highlight
Celina’s Joe Kanney forced Piqua into a turnover near
midcourt and Kanney found Homan streaking to the basket and
delivered an alley-oop pass right on the money for the two-handed
slam dunk. Homan’s dunk was the final score of the first
quarter with Celina in control, 13-1.
The Celina defense didn’t let up much in the second quarter
but Piqua finally got its first field goal of the first half
with just 32 seconds to go before halftime. Mike McBee’s
field goal along with five free throws from his teammates left
the Indians with a 14-point deficit down, 22-8.
Having led all scorers in the first half with nine points, Homan
went back to work in the third quarter adding nine more points,
five on free throws, giving the Bulldogs a 33-16 advantage at
the end of three quarters of action.
The 17-point deficit entering the fourth quarter was too much
to overcome for Piqua as both teams emptied the benches nearly
midway through the final stanza.
It was clear that Piqua didn’t have much offense to fight
off Celina as the Indians amassed as many turnovers (23) as
total points in the game (23). The Green and White defense held
Piqua to just 27 percent shooting from the floor in the contest
with no three-point field goals.
“I was happy with the way that we defended,” said
Kanney. “We played hard on the defensive end and forced
some turnovers pressure defense. Everyone that came into the
game was active on defense and contributed.”
“We knew the type of defense that Celina was going to
play and they caused some problems for our offense,” said
Sponsel. “We knew that the caliber of competition against
Celina would be better than the competition that we had seen
in the scrimmages. They put a lot of pressure on the ball and
take away passing lanes.”
Homan led all scorers in the contest with 20 points, including
a perfect seven-of-seven from the free-throw line.
Celina is back in action tonight on the road at Toledo Central