Hot start lifts Celina past Bath

PAULDING – Celina came out aggressively and stayed aggressive throughout its 49-36 win over Bath in a first-round Division II boys basketball sectional game at Paulding High School on Wednesday night.

The Bulldogs built a 16-point halftime lead, saw Bath cut that lead to six points late in the fourth quarter, but held on for their fourth win of the season.

Braylon Gabes scored 21 points and Caleb Gabes had 15 points to lead Celina (4-19). Cole Craddock led Bath (4-18) with 13 points – all in the second half.

Celina owned the first half. The only thing missing was a receipt.

The Bulldogs, who came into the game on an 8-game losing streak since a 44-40 win over Bath on January 20, connected on their first seven shots of the game, with five of those buckets coming from Braylon Gabes.

“It gave them quite a bit of confidence, which was good,” Celina coach Adam Johns said about the Bulldogs’ early shooting.

“We really attacked St. Marys last Friday night and it carried over to our mentality tonight,” he said.

“A lot of our (first-quarter) shots came in the painted area and that was just kids continuing to be aggressive like they were against St. Marys.

“That was good to see tonight – us being aggressive from the tip,” he said. “We didn’t panic when they cut it to six. We’ve been in the situation of closing out games a few times this year. It was good to see everybody across the board contributed in some way, shape or form.”

Celina led 14-6 after one quarter and kept on building that lead in the second quarter. The Bulldogs’ advantage grew to 14 points, at 24-10, on a 3-pointer by Landen Ackley, then went to 16 points, at 26-10, on a drive by Caleb Gabes.

Celina hit 12 of 18 field goal attempts in the first two quarters while Bath connected on just 3 of 18 shots in the first half.