COLUMBUS GROVE – There were many momentum swings when the Lima Central Catholic girls basketball team traveled to meet Columbus Grove Thursday evening.
But the Bulldogs grabbed the swing that mattered and rode a big fourth period comeback to grab a 58-57 victory.
Columbus Grove (6-3) grabbed a quick 14-11 lead after one period of play and the two teams picked up the pace in the second quarter as the Thunderbirds outscored the Bulldogs 22-21 in the second quarter but still trailed at the half by a score of 35-33.
LCC (6-2) got a big first half from Meredith Shepherd who connected for 14 points that came on the strength of three 3-pointers.
The Bulldogs, meanwhile, got 11 first half points from freshman Jade Clement that also included three 3-point baskets.
“Jade doesn’t play like a freshman,” Grove coach Brian Schroeder said. “She did a nice job for us tonight but she has been clutch all year.”
The Bulldogs opened the third period with five quick points that gave them a seven-point lead at 40-33. But, the T-Birds promptly regained the momentum and responded with a 19-5 run that gave them a 52-45 lead going to the final period of play.
And just as suddenly, the lid went on the LCC basket and they wouldn’t hit the first bucket of the fourth quarter until only one minute remained in the game.
The Bulldogs Sydney McCluer then connected on a driving layup. A costly T-Birds turnover led to two free throws by McCluer and a last second 3-pointer by LCC’s Natalie Snider made the final score a one-point margin and Grove had more wins before the end of December than they did all last season.
“This was an emotional win for us, we only won five games last year,” Schroeder said. “We lost a lot of close games last year but we kept our poise tonight; we made plays when we needed to and had defensive stops when we needed them.”
Grove was led on offensive by Clement and Rachel Schumacher who both finished with 13 points. The Bulldogs also got nine points from Sammy Stechschulte and Julia Wynn.
“We had that long stretch without scoring and you just can’t do that against good teams,” LCC coach Katie Krieg said. “Our shot choice wasn’t good tonight, and we gave up too many offensive rebounds that led to put backs by their big girls.”
LCC got a game high 17-point effort by Shepherd while Kayla Verhoff added 11 points and Madison Stolly chipped in with 10 points for the T-Birds.
Grove pulled down 30 rebounds in the game compared to only 21 for the T-Birds and both teams committed 13 turnovers in the contest.
LCC connected on 21-of-43 from the field and the Bulldogs knocked down 21-of-46 from the floor.
The difference may have been at the free throw as the T-Birds only made 6-of-11 in the game while the Bulldogs connected on 9-of-15 from the charity stripe.