PAULDING — Bath’s Jenna Hollar had only one point.
But no one registered a bigger point than Hollar.
Hollar sank a free throw with 2.9 seconds left to lift Bath to a 39-38 victory in the Division II girls basketball district championship Saturday at Paulding.
“I pictured it going through the net and it did,” Hollar said of her game-winning free throw, the second of two free throws.
Bath (20-5) advances to the regional semifinals against the Toledo Rogers/Port Clinton winner at 6:15 p.m. Tuesday at Ohio Northern. Celina, which had won 18 in a row, ends its season 22-3.
“It was two teams that I thought, head for head, were competitive, hard-nosed kids and were going to fight to the very end,” Bath coach Greg Mauk said. “Fortunately, we had things go our way at the end.”
The game was tied at 38 with 43 seconds left when Celina inbounded the ball. After whipping the ball around the perimeter, the Bulldogs turned it over to with 5.8 seconds left.
Hollar took the inbounds pass and streaked down the sideline, but was fouled by Kylee Bader in the backcourt with 2.9 seconds to go.
Off the double bonus, Hollar missed the first foul shot.
“That settled me down a lot,” Hollar said of the timeout. “They (her teammates and coach) talked me through it and told me I was going to make it.”
During the timeout, Mauk reminded Hollar of the times he’s called her name in practice to make a free throw or the whole team has to do pushups and sit-ups.
“I said, ‘It’s just you and me in the gym,’ and she just stuck it.”
Hollar simply returned to the line and dropped in the second foul shot to give Bath a 39-38 lead.
Celina inbounded the ball to Bader, whose 75-foot shot banged off the back of the rim at the buzzer to end it.
Bath’s Emily Ruhe played with passion at both ends of the floor and ended up with 13 points, seven rebounds and eight blocks.
“I knew that this could be our last game and they are a good team and I needed to come out for my team with energy so it carried on to the rest of the team,” Ruhe said.
Maddie Dackin scored nine points with four points.
Katie Stahl led Celina with 11 points.
Celina ran out to a 16-7 lead and led by as many as 11, 20-9 with 6:46 left in the second quarter.
Celina’s 6-foot center Beth Homan was leaning on Ruhe and making it difficult for her to touch the ball. At the other end, Celina was driving inside against Bath’s man-to-man.
So midway through the second quarter, Bath went to a 2-2-1 full-court press and then went to a 2-3 in the halfcourt.
That helped Bath outscore Celina 12-3 and the Wildkittens went to halftime trailing 23-21.
“We were giving them too many opportunities at the rim,” Mauk said. “We wanted to keep them away from the rim and contest their 3-point shooting. … I was really surprised the way the zone got them standing around.”
Early in the fourth quarter, Celina led 37-32, but Ruhe was calling for the ball down low. She scored four straight points and brought back within 37-36 with 4:28 to go.
“I walked out of our locker room at halftime and said to our coaches, ‘I can’t believe the attitude that Emily Ruhe has right now,’” Mauk said. “It’s something I’ve been waiting to see for four years. She was mad because she wasn’t getting the ball. She was upset in the locker room and told them to get me the ball. … She really, really came tonight. She was flat-out a warrior at both ends of the floor.”
On Ruhe’s basket at the 4:28 mark, Homan went down with a left knee injury and didn’t return to the game. Homan finished with six points and three rebounds.
Maddie Dackin’s two free throws gave Bath a 38-37 lead with 3:24 to go. Taylor Guingrich’s one free throw for Celina tied the game at 38 with 3:10 left.
Celina won the boards, 22-21. Bath shot 46 percent from the field and 2 of 9 on threes. Celina shot 36 percent and was 3 of 13 on threes.
Besides the one point, Hollar also held Bader to eight points, one 3-pointer.
But nothing was bigger than her one free throw.