By RYAN HINES
Rivalry games are always intense battles, regardless of what
the two teams’ records are when they meet. When both teams
in a rivalry game have outstanding records, then the intensity
seems to be even greater.
If that’s true, Celina head coach Mike Kanney and St.
Marys mentor Josh Leslie should get ready for one of the most
intense games of the season for either team as the Bulldogs
travel to McBroom Gymnasium on Friday to battle the Roughriders
in the annual Battle of Grand Lake.
“Every year this is a big game for both teams,”
admits Leslie. “With both teams having good seasons, the
rivalry will be even greater this year.”
“You can always throw the records out when we play each
other,” said Kanney. “It’s always an emotional
game and the gym will be packed. It’s just a great game
for this time of the year.”
Both teams are having strong seasons with Celina checking in
at 15-4 overall (5-3 in Western Buckeye League) while St. Marys
still has an outside chance at a league title with a mark of
14-5 overall and 6-2 in league play.
To say that St. Marys still has an outside shot at the WBL title
is even a stretch since the Roughriders need both Shawnee and
Ottawa-Glandorf to lose on Friday to earn a piece of the hardware.
The Indians face a feisty Elida squad that could turn into an
upset possibility, but the Titans will be heavy favorites when
they meet Kenton, which hasn’t won a game this season.
“It’s not likely that we’ll get a piece of
the league title, but we let it slip away earlier in the year,
so we’re just worried about ourselves and not what other
teams are doing,” said Leslie.
Both St. Marys and Celina have relied on their defense throughout
the season as the Roughriders excel in a zone defense while
the Bulldogs rely on a tenacious man-to-man. Both Kanney and
Leslie realize that scoring could be difficult heading into
“St. Marys does a nice job in their zone defense and does
a lot of different things out of it,” explained Kanney.
“They have strong and athletic kids that play well in
their system. They’re going to limit our good looks on
offense so we have to be able to hit shots early.”
“We know that Celina is going to play good defense and
they have the athletic ability to make things difficult for
offenses,” noted Leslie. “What we have to do is
be patient on offense and take good shots. We can’t let
Celina dictate what type of shots that we get, we have to execute
Both defenses will have its hands full as Celina and St. Marys
have potential all-state players representing their team on
Celina’s Tim Homan and St. Marys’ Scott Vossler
are their teams’ clear offensive leaders as Homan is averaging
20.1 points per game while Vossler checks in at 18.7 ppg.
“Tim Homan is capable of so much,” lauded Leslie.
“You can’t let your defense lose him because he
can score from all over the floor. We just have to limit his
“We have to make sure that Scott Vossler doesn’t
get on a roll,” admitted Kanney. “He’s a good
offensive player that plays hard and smart.”
Although Leslie knows that his Roughriders must contain Homan,
he also knows that the Bulldogs aren’t a one-man team
“You have to focus on Homan to a point, but Celina has
other people who can score too,” acknowledged Leslie.
“Joe Kanney is capable of a big game, Adam Tindall is
playing well right now, Scott Boley is an underrated player
and a great passer and Brian Gagle is an athletic kid as well.”
NOTES: With Celina’s win over Wapakoneta last Friday,
the Bulldogs have hit the 15-win plateau for the seventh straight
year... Tim Homan is 31 points shy of tying Mike Reichert for
second on the all-time scoring list for Celina... St. Marys’
Scott Vossler has taken more free throws as an individual than
the Roughriders opponents have attempted as a team.... If St.
Marys is able to gain a share of the WBL title, it will be the
first one for the Roughriders since the 1981 season when they
shared it with Elida and Kenton... Ottawa-Glandorf and Shawnee
are looking to repeat as WBL champs after the two teams also
shared the hardware with Celina a year ago... If Ottawa-Glandorf
is able to beat Kenton on Friday, it will be the fifth straight
year that the Titans have won at least a share of the league
title and the eighth time in the last nine years. It would also
mark the 14th time that O-G has won the WBL title all-time,
just one behind Celina (15) for most of any school in WBL history.