Bulldogs Get Revenge By Ending Riders' Season

St. Marys' Austin Wilker leaps to the basket during the second half of a Division II sectional semifinal against Celina on Tuesday at Findlay High School.
Jake Dowling
Sports Editor

It’s never easy beating a team twice in one season, but you never want to end your season to the hands of your rival either.

After beating Celina for the first time in 12 years earlier this month, the Bulldogs got their revenge, defeating St. Marys 57-45 in a Division II sectional semifinal on Tuesday.

The Bulldogs (6-17) will play the top-ranked team in Division II in Wauseon (22-0) on Friday, while the Roughriders’ season ends at 7-16.
“Our shots weren’t falling in and I thought that was the difference coming into this game,” Roughriders coach Craig Szymczak said. “We kind of shot lights out the last time we played them and we were going to have to get to the basket more and we did, but things did not seem to bounce our way.”

The Roughriders shot 6-of-23 (26 percent) from the floor in the first half and finished 14-of-54 for the game (25.9 percent).

In the first 9:12 of Tuesday’s contest, the Roughriders shot 2-of-11 from the floor and six turnovers, allowing Celina to jump out to a 16-4 game, it’s largest lead at that point.

But the Roughriders finished 4-of-12 from the floor to finish the half, trailing by just 10 points.

A bucket by Braeden Dunlap and two free throws by Ethan Mielke pulled the Riders to within six, 27-21, to open the second half, but neither team scored in the next 3:53 until Celina’s Austin Okeley connected on a 3-pointer, followed by a bucket from Brandon Yenser to possession later to push the lead back to 10 points with Austin Wilker’s free throw sandwiched in between.

After pulling the game to within six — the closest the Roughriders were to Celina for the rest of the game — St. Marys missed 12 consecutive shots from the floor.

The Roughriders pulled within seven, 47-40, with 2:27 remaining in the fourth quarter, but missed four of their final six shots from the floor as the Bulldogs increased their lead 54-41 with 47.2 seconds left.

Read the full story in Wednesday's print edition of The Evening Leader.