LIMA – Lima Central Catholic gave its fans another glimpse into how good the Thunderbirds have the potential to be this season when they entertained Columbus Grove on Friday night.
The Thunderbirds didn’t play their best but still were good enough to knock the Bulldogs from the ranks of the unbeaten with a 63-47 win at Msgr. E. C. Herr Gymnasium.
Both squads came in at 3-0 on the young season and LCC now stands at 4-0 while Columbus Grove falls to 3-1 for the year.
The defensive pressure that LCC is known for was evident from the start as it forced Grove into 13 first half turnovers. Those turnovers led to five uncontested break-away layups by the T-Birds as they raced to an 18-12 lead after one quarter of play and saw the lead expand to 32-19 after two periods.
“We got some transition baskets off of steals and turnovers but I just wasn’t pleased with our overall effort.” LCC coach Frank Kill said. “We had some good moments but also had periods where we just didn’t play well.”
The T-Birds, as they have been all year, were led in scoring by their guard tandem of Xavier Simpson with 22 points and Martyce Kimbrough with 15. Dantez Walton chipped in with 1o points and Tre’ Cobbs added eight points for LCC.
“Our shot selection wasn’t the best tonight,” Kill said. “Columbus Grove attacked us with Vorhees (Will a 6-foot-7 senior), and he’s a special player. He is going to make some college coach very happy.”
LCC is developing some solid depth and can go nine men deep without missing a beat defensively.
Vorhees scored all 14 points for the Bulldogs in the first quarter and went on to a game-high 24 point effort.
“We had too many turnovers in that first half,” Bulldogs coach Ryan Stechschulte said. “We can’t create that big of a hole; we battled until the buzzer tonight but we just couldn’t get over the hump. They have too many answers.”
The closest the Bulldogs could get was 10 points down at 51-41 in the middle of the fourth quarter but LCC closed the game on a 12-6 run to hold Columbus Grove at bay.
LCC won the battle of the boards as it pulled down 25 rebounds to 17 for Columbus Grove. The Bulldogs were also forced into 19 turnovers while the T-Birds only committed six in the game.
Columbus Grove shot the ball well when it was able to get into their offense as it connected on 19-of-33 from the floor for 57 percent. The T-Birds got off 19 more shot attempts than the Bulldogs and converted 24-of 52 for 46 percent.
The Bulldogs didn’t do themselves any favors as they only made 7-of-17 from the free throw line while LCC connected on 13-of-19 from the charity stripe.