LIMA — Coaches constantly preach not to give opponents extra opportunities.
In Lima Central Catholic’s nonconference game against New Bremen on Saturday, the window of opportunity was open for New Bremen in the second half. However, LCC staved off the Cardinals down the stretch and into overtime en route to a 56-51 win at Monsignor Herr Gymnasium in boys basketball action.
Tre’on Johnson led LCC (7-1) with 14 points and five assists. Johnson stepped up in the fourth quarter and extra session, scoring eight points. Darius West scored 12 points and had three steals, while Martyce Kimbrough came up with 11 points and three assists for the Thunderbirds.
Justin Heitkamp led New Bremen (4-2) with 20 points and six boards. Parker Manger scored 11 points and had six rebounds for the Cardinals.
LCC committed 24 turnovers for the game, 16 of those coming after the halftime break.
“We gave the ball up eight times in the first half and then we turned it over 16 more times for the rest of the game. …That’s a big deal,” LCC coach Frank Kill said. “We’ve got to do a better job of coming to jump-stops. But give a lot of credit to New Bremen. They forced us into a lot of bad situations where we tried to force the ball and we turned it over. We’ve had eight games in four weeks, so our guys are really tired right now. So for us to come out with an overtime win is big.”
LCC came out with a 15-8 lead by the end of the first quarter. The Thunderbirds’ lead was 30-22 at the break.
In the third quarter, New Bremen cut the deficit to two points on three occasions. After three quarters of action, LCC led 39-35.
The Cardinals claimed its first lead of the game at the 6:03 mark of the fourth quarter on an inside basket by Heitkamp. LCC managed to get just three shots off from the field in the fourth quarter (1-of-3), which enabled New Bremen to keep it close.
The game was knotted 45-45 at the end of regulation.
In the overtime session, Johnson canned a 3-pointer with 1:09 left to give LCC a 50-49 lead. The T-Birds then made enough free throws down the stretch to hold on for the win.
For the game, LCC was 11-of-20 from the free throw line. In the extra session, the T-Birds were 6-of-8 from the stripe.
From the floor, LCC shot 49 percent, while New Bremen shot 37 percent.
“That’s a senior there for you,” Kill said of Johnson’s performance. “He hit that three to give us the lead in overtime and he hit some big free throws down the stretch. During the season, you’re looking for your seniors to make big plays.”
Said New Bremen coach Adam Dougherty, “We played a little harder (in the second half). …That’s what it boiled down to. In the first half, we were soft. …We didn’t play very hard and they played harder than we played.”