LCC dominates, but looking for more

By Jim Naveau 419-993-2087

December 28, 2013

The decibels might have been missing but the decisiveness was there again.

Lima Central Catholic rolled to its sixth consecutive boys basketball win of the season in a game that took down Van Wert 61-40 but didn’t exactly bring the fans up to their feet to cheer at LCC on Friday night.

Xavier Simpson scored 15 points, Martyce Kimbrough had 13 points and Tre Cobbs scored 11 for the Thunderbirds (6-0). Matt Bidlacks’ 12 points led Van Wert (3-3).

The average margin of victory in LCC’s six wins is 23 points a game, and its closest game so far has been a 15-point decision over Elida.

LCC jumped out to a 33-20 halftime lead and never let the Cougars get closer than 13 points the rest of the way. The biggest lead was 25 points at 61-36 late in the fourth quarter.

Despite the comfortable margin of victory, LCC coach Frank Kill rated the Thunderbirds’ play as “kind of blah.”

“We kind of played blah tonight. Our defensive intensity wasn’t quite there,” Kill said.

“It was kind of a coast mode. As a coach I’m trying to teach these guys to have that killer mentality. That’s really what I want out of these guys.

“We’re a team that’s fueled (offensively) by our defense. We didn’t get a lot of offense from our defense,” he said.

LCC’s defense produced only 13 turnovers but it also held Van Wert to 30 percent shooting on field goals (14 of 47).

That defense appeared more than “blah” from Van Wert coach Mark Bagley’s viewpoint.

“Last week at Shawnee we hit 55 percent and hit 10 threes and were 15 of 20 at the line. But you have to give a lot of credit to LCC and their pressure. We knew that. You try to simulate it by bringing alumni and college basketball players in this week but you can’t simulate their quickness. It snowballed on us,” he said.

“They cause havoc. We never got them in a position where they had to tighten up. They’ve had six games, and it’s been a steam roll every game.

We have to do everything right skill-wise because we’re not the biggest team, we’re not that athletic. We were never comfortable tonight. They made us uncomfortable,” Bagley said. “They’ve got Division I athletes.”

Van Wert has started its season with up and down results, never winning more than one game in a row, but never losing more than one in a row. Its shooting has also followed a similar pattern.

“We’re shooting 42 percent for the year but we’re either shooting 50 percent or we’re shooting 30 percent,” Bagley said.

Van Wert’s shooting issues even extended to the free throw line Friday night, when it missed its first six free throw attempts, was 3 of 14 in the first half and finished the night 8 of 22.

“If we take care of that (free throws) in the first half, it’s a competitive game,” Bagley said. “We missed some easy shots early and the free throws snowballed out of control.”

LCC goes to Liberty-Benton (4-3) tonight. Two of the Eagles’ losses have been in overtime.