Freshman point guard Emma Kohn is fouled on her way to the hoop in the third quarter of Van Wert’s 61-42 win over Celina on Thursday night. Kohn made both free throws. (Times Bulletin/Tina Eley)
By John Parent
Times Bulletin Sports Editor
VAN WERT — The Celina Lady Bulldogs couldn’t have been blamed if they had packed it in. Coming into the contest at Van Wert with a 2-14 record and falling behind early, Celina faced a 17-point halftime deficit.
Though Celina would get to within eight late in the third, Van Wert would pull away for a 61-42 Western Buckeye League victory on Thursday night.
The Lady Bulldogs came out as the aggressor in the third period and used a 7-2 spurt to trim the lead to a dozen, forcing a Van Wert timeout.
“We have a tendency, when we get a lead, we don’t do the things we did to get the lead,” Van Wert coach Lance Moonshower noted. “We talked about that at halftime: ‘it’s zero-zero, let’s go back out and play with the same intensity,’ and we just can’t seem to do that. We have got to get better at that or, in close games, that’s going to cost us.”
Coming out of the timeout, junior Alexis Dowdy took a pass at the elbow and turned toward the goal, picking up contact on her way in for the layup. The three-point play gave Van Wert a 15-point advatntage, but didn’t stop the Celina onslaught.
Bulldog sophomore Heather Heiby got free for a 3-pointer at the top of the arc and, moments later, drained a second triple from the wing. Meanwhile, the Bulldogs were out-working Van Wert on the boards, creating second and third opportunities that Celina (2-15, 1-5 WBL) was able to convert into points. When senior Arika Mills grabbed an offensive rebound and put it home, the Bulldogs had pulled within eight at 38-30.
“We weren’t rotating very well,” Moonshower added. “We had kind of backed up a little bit on defense, and when we do that, we tend to stand around, so (Celina) would move the ball around a couple of times and get an open shooter and we just weren’t rotating like we did in the first half.”
With the lead at single digits for the first time since it was 12-3, the Lady Cougars responded. Erin Morrow drove the baseline and got to the basket, picking up the foul along the way. She converted the three-point play with 1:10 to play in the period. Thirty seconds later, senior Jenna Weigel was fouled while trying a 3-pointer, and, though she made only the middle of the three shots, Van Wert retained possession when the rebound was knocked out by Celina. That led to a Cheyenne Handy triple from the left wing that re-established a 15-point cushion for the Cougars headed into the final period.
After a second quarter that saw seven of the eight Van Wert (14-4, 5-2 WBL) field goal attempts come from beyond the arc, the Lady Cougars made an effort to get active inside after halftime. The result was a parade of Van Wert trips to the free throw line.
“We definitely had to get to the line, because we didn’t shoot it very well from the field,” Moonshower continued. “We took some shots that, they weren’t bad shots, they just weren’t going in. Luckily we did get to the line, and we got a few points back that way.”
The “few” points that Moonshower mentioned came by way of an 11-for-15 performance from the line in the final period. That effort overshadowed a horrendous 2-for-16 shooting effort for the Cougars.
The Lady Cougars scored the first eight points of the contest, getting baskets by Dowdy and Morrow inside before Emilie Moonshower knocked down one of her three 3-pointers. Dowdy collected six of her 14 points in the opening period. Morrow, who also finished with 14, scored seven in each half, going 7-for-7 at the line for the game.
Van Wert shot 10-for-21 (47.6 percent) in the first half, but just 6-for-25 (24 percent) after halftime. The Cougars grabbed 15 fourth-quarter rebounds and won the battle of the glass 30-23. The Lady Cougars also forced 21 Celina turnovers.
Van Wert was 23-for-34 at the free throw line while Celina was 8-for-16.
In the junior varsity contest, Van Wert used a late 13-0 run to come from ten-points back to with 43-40.
Score by quarters
Celina 5 6 19 12- 42
Van Wert 17 11 17 16- 61
Heiby 13, Berry 9, Bihn 2, Stahl 5, Mills 5, McGillvary 4, Lochtefeld 0, Swann 0, Dennis 4, Reineke 0
Van Wert (61)
Jones 0, Hall 4, Dowdy 14, Butler 6, Morrow 14, Handy 7, Dunlap 0, Moonshower 9, Weigel 4, Kohn 2, Eutsler 1