By Gary R. Rasberry
It seemed like Celina went through the extremes on Wednedsay night.
The Bulldogs did not score for the first 7:50 of the game, getting two free throws in the final 10 seconds of the first quarter.
Yet, the team was still in the game.
While the defense was able to kept Worthington Kilbourne in check, the offense began to pick up for Celina, leading to a 26-point explosion in the fourth quarter to capture the Silver Anniversary edition of the HALLiday Shootout 49-40 over the Wolves at the Fieldhouse.
The Bulldogs captured their 12th Shootout title and their first since 2003. More imporantly, Celina extends its winning streak to three games to go to 3-4 on the season. Despite not scoring until the closing seconds of the opening quarter, Celina only trailed 6-2 as the Bulldog defense forced seven turnovers on the Wolves, who made just three of 10 field-goal tries in the quarter.
Knowing the Wolves had plenty of offensive weapons, Celina head coach Chris Bihn and assistant coach Jay Imwalle, who handles the defensive calls, kept the Wolves guessing as to what defense the Bulldogs were going to run. At times it looked to be a 1-2-2 zone, other times a 1-3-1 zone.
"We did some different things, changed up our zone a bit," said Bihn. "We did some different things out of our man to try and help and counter the inside. Jay was on top of all that stuff. He did a great job putting together a plan.
"I don't know if they really knew what we were in. We did 3-4 different things out of it. ... The kids really busted their tails (resulting in 20 Kilbourne turnovers."
Kilbourne coach Tom Souder, who like Bihn is a Fort Recovery grad, was at a loss for words in wondering what Celina did to his squad.
"It's been a little bit of a tendency when teams play zone," said Souder, whose father Al guided the Indians to the 1971 Class A state title. "I don't understand it. We just kind of stand and play tentative. Something we've got to fix."
Celina found a spark and cut the deficit to just one point at the half when Chris Post hit a three-pointer with five seconds left.
Kilbourne fought back and pushed the lead back up to six at 29-23 at the end of three quarters.
And that's when Brian Dorsten took over.
Dorsten, who was 0-for-4 from the field against Bryan in the semis and had not scored in a game since getting 11 against Linden McKinley in the second game of the season, drove the lane, hit the bucket and was fouled 48 seconds into the quarter. The made free throw cut the Celina deficit to 29-26.
Celina freshman Derek Gagle, who scored 10 points, then nailed a three-pointer with 5:25 to go to tie the game for the first time of the night.
Kilbourne turned the ball over when Dorsten got the swipe and was fouled on the way to the basket. Dorsten nailed both tosses to give Celina its first lead of the game with 4:54 to go.
After Ben Gaskill hit on a free throw for the Wolves, Gagle hit another trey to push Celina up to 34-30. Brandon Martin cut it to two with a layup before Celina scored six straight points. Andy Muhlenkamp drove and scored with 3:24 to go. After a turnover by the Wolves, Scott Luthman hit a pair of free throws with 2:55 left. Eric Loughridge rounded out the run with a steal and layup with 2:35 to go to put Celina up eight.
Gaskill got back-to-back buckets to get the Wolves to within four, but Celina continued to hit its free throws, making 11 of their final 12.
"I give Chris and his kids (all the credit)," said Souder. "They out-worked us, outplayed us. He's got to be proud of his kids."
Dorsten made all nine of his free throws in the final quarter, finishing with a game-high 16 points.
"I was just looking to take it to the hole, create and get to the foul line," said Dorsten. "And knock down my free throws."
"He came out and played well," Bihn said of Dorsten's play. "He can shoot the ball well enough, and has always been able to. He's finally getting started on a roll. We were setting things up for him to get the ball. Whenever he's on like that, you have to have confidence in him."
Despite his fourth-quarter heroics, Dorsten was denied the Most Valuable Player award of the tournament. Luthman, despite a 1-for-7 night from the field and just four points, earned the honor after scoring 24 points and pulling down 21 rebounds in the two-day tournament. Dorsten did join Luthman on the All-Tournament team.
Celina starts 2006 at the Fieldhouse in a WBL matchup with Van Wert.
Hoover 61, Bryan 43
Joe Ryser scored a game-high 20 to give the Vikings a win before their long road trip back to Stark County. The Golden Bears fall to 2-5 in suffering two losses in the tournament.
Elder scored 12 points and Moriarity added 13 to ensure their spots on the All-Tournament team.
Tyler Smith paced Bryan with 11 points while Kyle Kurivial added 10 off the bench.