CELINA — Emily Ruhe was her usual reliable self down low.
You know, 19 points and 14 rebounds.
However, when Bath knocked down 5 of 15 on 3-pointers, Celina was in trouble.
Bath posted a 46-39 victory over Celina in the Western Buckeye League girls basketball opener Thursday at the Celina Fieldhouse.
While Ruhe powered her way around the basket, it was the 3-point shooting and plenty of defense that made the difference.
In the first few games, Bath has been looking for the outside game to complement Ruhe down low. Thursday it received it from Jenna Hollar (two threes, six points) and Alyssa Manley (two threes, nine points). Ruhe even knocked down a three right before halftime to give the Wildkittens a 29-24 lead at the break.
“It was a season record (for threes),” Bath coach Greg Mauk said. “The three at the end of the second quarter and the three at the end of the third quarter (Manley) were really big. … Our team is a good shooting team. We just haven’t shown it until tonight.”
Bath stands 4-1, 1-0 in the WBL. Celina is 4-2, 0-1 in the WBL.
“What hurts you is when you play good defense and they nail two (threes) at the end of the quarter,” Celina coach Brian Stetler said. “And they weren’t the easiest threes to make.”
Defensively, Bath played a 2-3 zone and a man-to-man. In the man, Audrey Brandon put the clamps on Hillary Heiby and held her scoreless—16 under her average. Last year in Bath’s 43-39 district championship win over Celina, Heiby had 13 points and eight rebounds.
“She (Brandon) ended up on Heiby, and strength-wise, it was a pretty good matchup,” Mauk said. “Audrey had a good night.”
Brandon also had seven points and five rebounds.
The other key defender was Bath’s Katie Dackin, who held Kylee Bader to 11 points — five under her average.
“I was trying to shut her down and keep her in front,” Dackin said. “She’s really good at three points and driving.”
Added Stetler, “They’re quick. They did a nice job of holding our scorers down.”
Bath owned the boards, 36-21, including a 13-6 edge at the offensive end.
“Our number one key was rebounding,” Mauk said.
Celina had 10 turnovers, while Bath had 19. Bath hit 36 percent from the field, while Celina shot 34 percent. Bath hit 10 of 14 at the foul line. Celina hit 3 of 4.
Celina led 13-11 after the first quarter. Bath took the lead to stay 18-16 with 5:30 left in the second quarter on a Ruhe putback.
Manley’s 3-pointer gave Bath a 26-19 lead and the Wildkitten led 29-24 at the half.
By halftime, Ruhe had scored 15, on 6 of 8 shooting.
Bath’s lead grew to 42-33 with 5:57 to go. The Wildkittens held off a late Celina charge when Madison Dackin dropped two free throws to give Bath a 45-39 lead with 38 seconds to go.
Bath played without Taylor Dackin (knee), while Celina played without center Beth Homan (mouth injury).
With the rematch from the district finals, the Wildkittens notched a key WBL win.
“It’s huge for the WBL because we’re so competitive with each other,” Katie Dackin said.