By Ryan Hines
Lima Bath was a struggling 3-10 team entering Friday's game against Celina at the Fieldhouse, but they sure didn't play like it on the Bulldogs' home court.
The Wildcats shot a blistering 54 percent from the floor and dominated play on both ends of the court en route to a 60-46 victory over the Bulldogs in Western Buckeye League action.
"This was either our best night or one of the best nights that we've had shooting all season long," said Bath head coach Doug Davis. "We really haven't shot the ball well all season long, but the past couple of days in practice we've started to shoot the ball better and it must have carried over to tonight. I think that since we've been shooting the ball well in practice that we may have had more confidence tonight than we had been playing with."
"We talked as a coaching staff before the game that whoever shot the ball the best was going to win this game and according to the stat sheet they outshot us and that was pretty much the story of the game," said Celina head coach Chris Bihn. "We didn't shoot the ball well and we didn't get to the line enough either and that makes it tough to score many points when you aren't shooting the ball very well.
"When you shoot the ball as well as they shot it tonight it's tough to lose," continued Bihn. Bath dominated every statistical category. The Wildcats hit 14-of-17 free throws compared to just 5-of-10 for Celina and the visitors controlled the glass with a 31-23 advantage on rebounds.
Celina's offense sputtered with a 36-percent shooting performance, including 25 percent on three-point attempts.
"If you look at the two shooting percentages between the two teams tonight, it's hands down obvious who won the game," said Bihn. "We're going to keep working on our shooting and focusing on the things that we need to do to execute better offensively. Teams are bigger and stronger than us but we have to keep with it."
The Wildcats had nine players score in the game with Brock Best scoring a game-high 19 points with the help of a 9-of-9 showing at the free-throw line.
"In the past Brock had to play point guard and on the wing at times and that made it difficult for him to stay comfortable on offense, but he's been playing mostly wing now and he's really settled in," said Davis.
Celina held an early five-point lead at 8-5, but Bath closed the first stanza with a 12-2 run to go on top 17-13 after the first eight minutes of play.
Bath blew the game open in the second quarter by outscoring Celina 20-9 to take a 37-22 lead into halftime leaving the Bulldogs crowd silent. In the second quarter, Bath hit 8-of-12 field goals.
The 15-point lead for Bath was taken down to as many as eight points when Celina went on a quick 6-0 run to start the second half, but the Wildcats quickly put the lead back into double digits and coasted the rest of the game.
Scott Luthman led Celina with 12 points and seven rebounds while Derek Gagle and Andy Muhlenkamp each added 10 points.
Celina is back in action again tonight on the road at Sidney.