By RYAN HINES
ELIDA — Celina’s worst shooting performance of the
season may have knocked the Green and White out of the Western
Buckeye League title race on Friday night at the Elida Fieldhouse.
Elida’s zone defense caused havoc for Celina all night
long and the home team cruised to a 54-35 victory in a critical
game for both squads.
Elida improves to 9-4 overall on the season and 3-1 in the WBL,
one game behind Shawnee, while Celina falls to 9-3 overall and
2-2 in league play.
Celina came into the contest shooting 49.1 percent from the
field, but Elida’s quickness in its zone defense limited
the Green and White to shoot just 14-of-52 from the floor (27
percent) and an abysmal 15 percent (4-of-26) from beyond the
“They made us work for our shots and when we got an open
look, we couldn’t hit it,” said a disappointed Celina
head coach Mike Kanney after the game. “We knew that their
zone was coming and we worked pretty hard on it in practice
but our shots just didn’t fall tonight. We’re a
better shooting team than this, but it just didn’t happen
“For the last couple of weeks we had graduates come in
here and help give us looks like what Celina was going to give
us,” noted Elida head coach Chris Adams. “We did
a good job of locating the good shooters in our zone and we’ve
done a pretty good job on that all year.”
Everyone struggled for Celina with not one single player shooting
over 50 percent for the game. Even the reliable Tim Homan, averaging
22.3 points per game entering Friday’s matchup, scored
just 10 points on 4-of-11 shooting from the floor and just 2-of-9
from three-point range.
Offense wasn’t a problem for Elida as the home squad shot
47 percent getting a balanced scoring attack.
Jason Sarno, starting for just the third time of the season,
led all scorers in the contest with 17 points. Sarno, who came
in averaging just 6.7 ppg., put Elida on his back in the first
quarter scoring 12 points to give his team a 18-9 lead after
the first eight minutes of action.
“The lift that Jason Sarno gave us at the beginning of
the game was huge for us,” said Adams. “He hit big
shots early and the rest of the kids fed off of that.”
“Sarno had a great first half and gave them a lift right
from the start,” admitted Kanney.
Aaron Thompson and Dustin Mathias each scored 12 points apiece
while Mike Smith added 11 points.
Celina’s Brian Gagle helped make a game of it in the second
quarter as he scored six of his 10 points to help pull his team
to within three points at halftime, 23-20.
Elida pushed the three-point halftime lead to eight points right
away on a three-pointer from Mathias and a deuce from Nick Jacobs.
Celina cut the lead to five points on three different occasions
in the third quarter, only to see Thompson hit two threes and
Sarno convert a three-point play on each occasion.
“They made a few runs at us in the third quarter, but
each time that Celina made a run, we got a big bucket from Thompson
or Sarno to give us a lift,” acknowledged Adams.
The first three quarters were painful to watch offensively for
Celina, but it got worse in the fourth quarter. Celina scored
just four points in the final stanza as Elida walked away with
the blowout win.
“We fell behind early on and it was a constant struggle
from there on out trying to make a comeback,” said Kanney.
Celina is back in action on Friday hosting Bath.