Celina at St. Marys Photo Gallery:
ST. MARYS — Celina caught fire from the field, and the Roughriders were left to reach for their hips in fatigue and for their heads in bewilderment at just how quickly things got away from them in the third quarter on Friday night.
The stage set for another classic clash down the stretch between rivals, the Celina-St. Marys game suddenly took a definite and anticlimactic dogleg in Celina’s favor in the third stanza.
Celina beat St. Marys for the sixth straight time with a 72-58 win at a packed Murotech Court.
That potential photo finish that had lent the gymnasium a tournament feel for the first 16 minutes turned into a runaway for the Bulldogs that deflated all atmosphere.
A few turnovers that Celina turned into easy baskets in the third turned the game all around.
“We were playing right with them and then we went braindead for about two and a half, three minutes,” St. Marys head coach Dan Hegemier said. “They got the spread and got on a roll. Everything they threw up went in. They executed much better than we did.”
Celina matched its entire first-half output in its charmed third quarter in which the Bulldogs knocked down 12-of-15 shots.
“We mustered up even more energy to start that third quarter and played pretty hard and pretty well, especially defensively,” Celina head coach Chris Bihn said.
Celina scored 47 second-half points and turned a tie game at the half into a 11-point lead through three quarters.
Celina had its best offensive output in seven games in their first win in five outings and their first Western Buckeye League win of the season.
“There was continuity and fluid movement in our half court, but we got turnovers and got lay-ups,” Bihn said.
St. Marys’ perimeter shooting woes and turnovers against Celina’s three-quarter court trap did them in.
“We broke their trap for two quarters and then we couldn’t,” Hegemier said.
J.D. Meyer scored a game-high 25 points on 10-of-19 shooting (52.6 percent), but the rest of the St. Marys team shot a combined 14-for-39 (35.9 percent). That included a 2-of-20 night from beyond the three-point line just six days after draining 11 three-pointers against Lima Perry.
Manning scored 11 points for St. Marys, which fell to 5-8 and 1-3 in the Western Buckeye League.
Celina’s 6-foot-4 center and leading scorer Matt Buschur scored 22 points.
The Bulldogs also went to the free throw line 30 times — converting on 23 of them. St. Marys got to the free throw line 12 times and hit eight.
Scott Moeder scored 16 points for Celina. Braelen Bader added 13 points.
St. Marys had leads of 9-5 and 15-11 in the first quarter despite going 0-for-7 from beyond the three point line.
Buschur tipped in a shot at the buzzer to tie the game 25-25 at the half.
Meyer hit his first two baskets of the second half and scored on three straight possessions before Celina’s avalanche of points in the third quarter.
St. Marys travels to WBL-leading Defiance next Friday night for a 6 p.m. junior varsity tip-off against Kirk Lehman’s 10-0 Bulldogs.
“This is a tough loss for us, but we’ll rebound and be ready for next week,” Hegemier said.