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02-09-04: Bulldogs nearly upset Titans

Standard Correspondent

Ottawa-Glandorf kept its Western Buckeye League title hopes alive by beating Celina, 45-40, in a Saturday contest rescheduled due to weather.
The Titans (15-2, 7-1 WBL) hit almost 53 percent of their shots from the floor to just 39 percent for the Bulldogs (11-7 overall, 3-5 in the league).
Despite lacking the presence of big gun Stacey Verhoff, the Titans were able to find enough offense and defense from the role players to hold off the Bulldogs. Shelly Bellman led Ottawa-Glandorf with 12 points and Lynne Sunderhaus added 11. Celina’s Kara Osterfeld led all scorers with 13 points, and teammates Kelli Williams (11) and Andrea Bryan (10) were also in double figures.
“It seems like forever, like another season, since Stacey’s been in the lineup,” said Titans’ coach Lori Smith. “We talked about this last week, about someone else stepping up and helping carry the load. We’d like to have her out there, but right now we have some kids on this team who are stepping forward. I don’t think they even realize who the leader is going to be on any given night.”
Ottawa-Glandorf gave itself some breathing room in the third period by overcoming a two-point halftime deficit. Sunderhaus scored inside and Kelsey Elliot gave the Titans the lead for good, 27-25, with a short shot from the right side. Bellman drove through the lane for a 29-25 lead. Osterfeld hit two free throws to close the gap to two. Bellman’s score at the end of the quarter gave Ottawa-Glandorf a 37-31 lead heading into the final frame.
“We just couldn’t get over the hump,” Celina coach Jack Clouse said. “We really had our chances. We had it tied, we were just down by two, we just didn’t get it done.”
Williams hit a field goal and two free throws early in the fourth quarter to bring Celina back to within two, but the Bulldogs couldn’t tie it up, misfiring on their next three possessions.
“I thought one thing that was causing problems for them was that their big girls were handling the ball out front,” Clouse said. “She (Smith) fixed that and that helped us some because when those big girls got inside, they were causing us problems. Offensively, we had some shots but just didn’t hit them.”
Ottawa-Glandorf got a score from Steph Utendorf to open the lead up to four again, and a one-and-bonus at the line by Katie White stretched the lead to six.
An exchange of free throws kept the margin at six until Williams hit a three-pointer with Bellman in her face to slice the lead to three with 20 seconds left. Forced to foul for possession, Celina sent White back to the line and the O-G junior hit the first of two to increase the gap to four.
Ottawa-Glandorf gave Celina an opportunity in the closing seconds. Instead of just pressuring Osterfeld’s shot, Sunderhaus fouled her and sent her to the line for a pair of free throws. Osterfeld hit the first to make it 43-40, and missed the second. Bellman grabbed the rebound and a score by Kara Scheckelhoff at the buzzer made Ottawa-Glandorf a 45-40 winner.
Celina’s start was slow, with seven first-quarter turnovers allowing Ottawa-Glandorf to take the lead after the first period. The Bulldogs turned in a good defensive effort in the first eight minutes that kept them within three points at 10-7, even with the offensive problems. Bryan took a pass underneath from Allison Hoying to score at the buzzer.
The Bulldogs trailed 17-13 in the second period when Hoying’s three-point play sparked a rally. Hoying’s free throw cut the deficit to one and a three pointer and two free throws by Osterfeld and two scores by Bryan gave Celina a 25-23 lead at halftime.
A key factor in the win was denying Williams the opportunity to generate offense.
“Shelly Bellman,” said Smith when asked the Titans’ strategy for dealing with Williams. “We put her on Krissy Haines from St. Marys and she shut her down and we told her she had Williams. Unfortunately, we also look for a lot of offense from her with Stacey out, and that’s a load for her.”
“I just can’t say much,” Clouse admitted. “I thought we played in spurts. For whatever reason, we just couldn’t get over that hump.”
Celina is on the road for a non-league contest with Fort Recovery on Tuesday, and then travels to Wapakoneta to finish up the Western Buckeye League season on Thursday.


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P.O. Box 140, Celina, OH 45822


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