Celina beats St. Marys for 7th straight time


CELINA — Celina’s defensive pressure took its toll midway through the second half, as a physically and mentally fatigued St. Marys squad turned the ball over and watched the Bulldogs turn the miscues into points.

Celina wore down the Roughriders and pulled away in the fourth quarter for a 71-52 win at a packed Celina Fieldhouse on Friday night. It’s the seventh straight win for Celina over St. Marys, a winning streak that dates back to 2005.

St. Marys at Celina Boys Basketball Photos


“We started bleeding a little bit, they smelled blood and that was it,” St. Marys head coach Dan Hegemier said as he watched his team go from being tied midway through the third quarter to being down by 18 points midway through the fourth.

A St. Marys team that has averaged 11 turnovers a game heading into the night turned it over 17 times on Friday, and in one sequence in the third quarter  the Roughriders had back-to-back inbounds passes picked off and turned into Bulldog lay-ups.

“We gave them some different ball pressures, some man, some zone, some run and jumps,” Celina head coach Chris Bihn said. “We switched it up enough that they were guessing about where the pressure was coming from.”

Celina scored 44 second-half points and exploded for 26 points in the fourth quarter behind big halves by its inside-outside offensive duo.

Braden Billger and Matt Buschur each scored 23 points for a surging Celina team that has won three straight and four of its last five games after starting the season 1-7.

“We’ve got a few wins here in a row and the smiles keep getting bigger and bigger every time we’re coming back to the locker room,” Bihn said. “They’re enjoying it right now.”

The Bulldogs shot 52.7 percent from the floor on 29-of-55 shooting. Buschur went 10-of-14 from the floor to control the paint in the second half.

“We had to spread it out defensively in the second half and he just posted us up inside,” Hegemier said. “He’s a beast inside.”

Billger had a big night on the perimeter with four 3-pointers and seemingly the answer to staunch any Roughrider run all night.

St. Marys senior point guard Garet Fledderjohann had 19 points and controlled the pace of the game for the first 20 minutes of the game, but Hegemier said his senior point guard had to go up against pressure the whole night and it took its toll.

“They wore Garet out,” Hegemier said. “He wore down and we tried to get some other guys to bring the ball down and we just didn’t do a good job of it...We’ve got to get someone else who can handle the ball for us....Garet played a heck of a game, but it’s tough when you’ve got two guys guarding you.”

“If you’ve got one ballhandler, we’ll go after him,” Bihn said.

When St. Marys senior Austin James buried a 3-pointer with 4:19 left in the third quarter, it tied the game at 31-31. A Billger 3-pointer, a Ryan Hoyng basket and a Buschur basket quickly put Celina’s lead back at 38-31.

“Billger hit a 3-pointer in the corner when we were in the zone,” Hegemier said. “We lost him and did not pick him up.”

St. Marys sophomore center Quinn Zaerr stopped the bleeding momentarily with a 3-pointer from the left corner, but a Billger trey and then the two Rider inbounding snafus gave Celina  a 43-36 lead.

Zaerr followed up his 20-point night last Saturday at Perry with 14 points and six rebounds.

Fledderjohann hit a soft runner early in the fourth quarter to draw St. Marys within 45-40, but Billger answered with five straight points once again.

St. Marys dropped in nine 3-pointers to help keep them in the game for more than three quarters. Austin James knocked down three treys and Zaerr and Fledderjohann each hit two from long distance.

St. Marys falls to 3-9 on the season and 0-4 in the Western Buckeye League. The Roughriders host Parkway (1-12) tonight at 6 p.m. The Panthers lost to Coldwater, 72-24, on Friday night.

            1       2      3      4    — F
SM     10    13    15    14    — 52
CEL    19     8    18    26    — 71

Garet Fledderjohann 8-1-19, Jarrett Taylor 1-0-2, Austin James 3-0-9, Quinn Zaerr 5-2-14, Isaac Fitzgerald 2-0-5, Dirk Fenwick 1-0-3. TOTALS 20-3-52.

Braden Billger 9-1-23, Ryan Hoyng 5-4-14, Matt Buschur 10-3-23, Mason Ross 2-0-4, Grant Laffin 2-0-5, Arik Fickert 1-0-2. TOTALS 29-8-71.

Three-Point Field Goals — SM: Fledderjohann (2), James (3), Zaerr (2), Fitzgerald, Fenwick; CEL: Billger (4), Laffin.

Points 52 71
Field Goals 20-47 29-55
FG Pct. 42.6 52.7
2pt. FG 11-24 24-39
2pt. FG Pct. 45.8 61.5
3pt. FG 9-23 5-16
3pt. FG Pct. 39.1 31.2
Free Throws 3-8 8-10
FT Pct. 37.5 80.0
Rebounds 17 28
Off. Reb. 7 9
Def. Reb. 10 19
Turnovers 17 12
Bench Points 8 7

Junior Varsity — St. Marys, 49-41.