Marion defense holds Celina to
By ROBB HEMMELGARN
MARIA STEIN — Between now and Thursday evening, if anyone
stumbles across a resemblance of the team that Celina head coach
Jack Clouse thought he was bringing with him to Marion Local
last night, you may want to give the veteran skipper a call.
The Marion Local Flyers applied a frustrating zone defense and
dominated the boards en route to a 42-27 win over the visiting
Clouse was left scratching his head following the defeat.
“Coming into tonight’s game, I would have described
my team as a very fine offensive group, but I didn’t recognize
the team we had on the floor.” He continued, “None
of our girls played to their potential tonight. It’s really
hard to figure out what to attribute it to — Marion Local’s
defense, the flu bug, finals this week, four games in eight
days? Who knows?”
Celina held an early 6-5 advantage in the first quarter but
from there it was all Blue and Gold. The Flyers closed the quarter
with eight points in the next 2:40 to go up 13-6 following one
period of action.
Despite beginning with two turnovers in the first thirty seconds,
the home team owned the second quarter as well, holding the
Bulldogs to no field goals and just two points before the half.
Sophomore Maria Moeller and Erin Brand led the Flyers with seven
and six points, respectively, as the Flyers completed a 19-2
spurt before the teams commenced to the locker rooms with the
home team in front, 24-8.
“The first thing I told the girls when we got to the locker
room was not to become complacent,” remarked Flyer coach
Treva Fortkamp. “I told them to imagine what it would
be like in our locker room if we were on the other end of the
scoreboard and they could be assured Celina would come out firing.”
Things didn’t get much better for Celina in the third
quarter as Marion Local, the defending Division IV state champions,
closed the third quarter with a 32-15 advantage.
“We needed to come out in the third quarter and start
getting back to basics,” said Clouse. “We really
didn’t make any adjustments at the half partly because
the things we were doing wrong were very basic, and if we can’t
do those right, we were going to be in trouble no matter what.”
Thobe extended the Marion Local lead to 19 points with just
over five minutes to play in the game, but then the Bulldogs
began to emerge from their shell of offensive ineptness.
Senior Jenna Schleucher followed a pair of free throws with
a shot from downtown to pull Celina to within 14 points, forcing
a timeout from the Marion Local bench.
“I just told the girls to continue executing and to not
be in a rush,” explained Fortkamp of her timeout speech.
“We were still in command and I didn’t want things
to fall apart after performing so well to that point.”
Celina’s Betsy Hone connected on her second shot from
behind the three-point arc a short time later, and all of a
sudden with 2:30 to play, Celina was only down 11 points.
The effort, although intriguing, was too little, too late, as
Marion Local built its lead to as many as 15 points and held
on for a 42-27 win.
“I’m very happy with the way it turned out tonight,”
commented Fortkamp. “Celina is a very good team, so we
consider this a big win. I’m happy with the balance we
showed in scoring and I’m very excited about the way our
defense was able to keep (Kelli) Williams and (Kara) Osterfeld
in check tonight.”
The loss drops Celina to 9-4 on the season, and the Green and
White will play host to the Elida Bulldogs on Thursday at the
Fieldhouse. The Flyers hit the midway point of the season with
a 9-1 slate and will travel to Fort Recovery to face a strong
Indian squad, also on Thursday.