Wednesday, January 9th, 2019
Not without a fight
Flyers win tough battle against tenacious Bulldogs
By Gary R. Rasberry
Marion Local's Sammy Hoelscher (23) blocks Celina's Makenna Klingshirn (20) shot. . .
CELINA - Celina girls basketball coach Cenzie Rushton would prefer actual victories to moral victories, but she was happy with how her team played after the first quarter of Tuesday's game with Marion Local.
Flyers coach Beth Streib wished her team would have kept the momentum from the first quarter going when they led 17-2.
Celina outscored Marion 24-20 over the the final three quarters to make the Flyers' 37-26 victory at the Fieldhouse a bit more competitive.
"On the optimistic side, that's exactly how to look at (the game).We fought, which I'm proud of," said Rushton. "On the realistic side, we shouldn't have had a 15-point deficit."
Marion (6-5) connected on its first four shots of the game and was 7 of 13 from the floor in the first half. Alana Pohlman scored six points as Celina was saved from being shut out in the quarter by a pair of Makenna Klingshirn free throws with 1:26 left in the period.
But in the second quarter, the Flyers started to struggle with their shooting, hitting just 2 of 9 attempts as Celina won the quarter 6-5. Marion still led 22-8 at the break, though.
"We got a good start defensively. Got some pressure and some easy points," said Streib. "Then we relaxed. We can't afford that. But, Celina is a very scrappy team. They fight the whole way through."
The Bulldog defense started to heat up in the third quarter, holding the Flyers to just three points. Celina center Maddy Luebke scored six points as the Bulldogs matched their first-half scoring mark to get to within single digits at 25-16 by the end.
"We've said all year that we want to make defense a priority," said Rushton. "I thought for three quarters, we bought into that. It was great to see."
Luebke scored the first points of the fourth quarter with 6:40 remaining to get Celina to within seven at 25-18, but that was as close as the Bulldogs got to the Flyers for the rest of the game. Natalie Rethman and Brook Homan hit key free throws over the final three minutes to get the Flyer lead back above 10 points at the conclusion of the game.
"I think we're becoming a better team every game," said Rushton. "Moral victories only take us so far.We want some more W's. I think the hungriness is starting to show in their faces."
"We hit some free throws at the end, but we need better decisions," Streib said. "Still, it was a good team win. Hopefully, it keeps us moving forward."
Pohlman finished with 12 points - 10 coming in the first half - to be the only double digit scorer in the contest. Brooke Homan added seven.
Celina received eight points each from Maria Lutz and Luebke.
Both teams are back in league play on Thursday. Marion returns to the Hangar to host Parkway and Celina hosts Bath.