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Chiefs look to match toughness of Bulldogs in opener

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Celina has traditionally played a blue collar brand of basketball, focusing on tough defense and strong rebounding. Bellefontaine wants to make sure it does not get pushed around by the rugged Bulldogs in tonight’s season opener.

The Chiefs host Celina at 7:30 p.m. tonight in a matchup of Central Buckeye Conference and Western Buckeye League members.

“They are going to be a lot like the Celina teams we’ve played in the past,” said Bellefontaine head coach Henry Stolly. “They have good size and they play a ruggle style. They are going to press a lot and try to get the tempo in their favor.”

The Bulldogs went 9-14 last year, but that mark came against a very tough schedule. This year’s team is led by 6-3 junior forward Ryan Hoyng, who earned second-team all-WBL and special mention all-Northwest District honors last season. He averaged 14 points per game as a sophomore.

“Hoyng was their leading scorer last year, and he is going to be a big challenge for us,” said Stolly. “He is a very good offensive player.”

In order to challenge the Bulldogs, Bellefontaine has to fare well on the boards.

“We are not a real big team,” said Stolly. “Celina is always a good rebounding team, so it is important that we rebound well. We can’t afford to let them dominate the boards.”

Bellefontaine was hit hard by injuries last season and struggled to find consistency. Stolly was pleased to see his team emerge from the preseason in good health.

“We had a good preseason,” said Stolly. “The guys put in a lot of hard work, led by our three seniors. We beefed up our scrimmage schedule a little bit, playing some teams from the Columbus area. Hopefully, that will prepare us well for the start of the season.”

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