BOWLING GREEN – No thesaurus or dictionary was necessary. There were plenty of adjectives and comparisons flying around after Lima Central Catholic advanced to the Division II boys state basketball state tournament with a 55-40 win over Ottawa-Glandorf on Saturday in the Bowling Green regional championship game.
The win sent the Thunderbirds on to a state semifinal against Cincinnati Roger Bacon at 2:30 p.m. Friday in Ohio State’s Value City Arena.
It was time to celebrate after LCC clinched its seventh trip to a state tournament in the last 26 seasons and its first since the 2010 team won the Division III title.
It was also time to exhale that the Thunderbirds had conquered the team that has been their nemesis ever since the 2010 state championship.
LCC and Ottawa-Glandorf were playing for the fifth year in a row in a high-stakes tournament game.
Last year, O-G beat the Thunderbirds 60-52 in the regional semifinals and a year earlier the Titans won 44-38 in the regional championship game. In 2011, the Titans won 56-54 in the district championship game and in 2010 LCC won a district championship matchup 48-40 on its way to the state championship in Bob Seggerson’s final season as coach.
“It’s a little different feeling than the last two years,” LCC coach Frank Kill said. “Ottawa-Glandorf has had my number since I became a head coach. They’ve been my Achilles Heel. I’ve been snake bitten.”
LCC (23-4) led all the way for all except for a three-minute stretch in the first quarter. The Thunderbirds were up 23-17 at halftime and pushed the lead to 11 points, 43-32, after three quarters.
O-G got to within seven points with 4 ½ minutes to play, but LCC responded with a 12-1 run to put the game away.
Senior guard Martyce Kimbrough scored 19 points, 12 of them in the third quarter, to lead LCC. Ottawa-Glandorf’s 6-foot, 7-inch junior post player Noah Bramlalge led the Titans with 19 points.
“I thought Martyce Kimbrough stepped up tonight in that third quarter. That was a senior who said, ‘I’m not ready to go home,’ ” Kill said.
Kimbrough was a starter on the LCC teams who reached the regional but came up short of the state tournament the last two years.
“It’s great, it’s a blessing,” he said about getting through the regional. “The last two years they knocked us out and it was the worst feeling. My senior year I just wanted to get to state. Now that we’re finally doing it, it’s great.”
Ottawa-Glandorf, last year’s Division III state champion, had only one player, Bramlage, who played significant minutes last year. Of the 60 points O-G scored against LCC last year in the regional, only three of them were by a player in uniform this year.
The Titans (17-11) hovered around the .500 mark much of the season but hit their stride in the tournament.
“We tried to embrace that underdog role,” O-G coach Tyson McGlaughlin said. “I’m beyond proud of what our guys did this year.
“We would have had to play a perfect game to beat LCC and those come around about once in a million years. There’s a reason they’re going to state. They’re pretty good,” he said.
LCC went into the game as the favorite and had a 64-44 win over Ottawa-Glandorf during the regular season.
Kill said the Thunderbirds used the favorite’s role to their advantage rather than feeling pressure because of it.
“I knew we were the best (Division III) team in northwest Ohio this year. I always thought Ottawa-Glandorf was the best team the last two years. We were chasing them and tonight we were the ones being chased,” he said.
LCC talked about going to the state tournament since before the season began. And, with Saturday night’s win, it became a reality.
Kill said verbalizing the obvious goal is not something that coaches do all the time, but he thought it would work with this team.
“You just evaluate your talent. It’s not something you do with every team,” he said.
LCC proved it is not just every team with Saturday’s win. And, finally, it was the last Division III team left standing in northwest Ohio.
Division III regional final
At Bowling Green
LCC 55, Ottawa-Glandorf 40
Lima Central Catholic
Dantez Walton 7, Jake Williams 8, Xavier Simpson 8, Martyce Kimbrough 19, Tre Cobbs 6, Nick Taflinger 3, Cory Stewart 2, Ethan O’Connor 2, Nick Taflinger 3.. Totals: 17-17-55.
Tyler Zender 6, Noah Bramlage 19, Alex Schroeder 4, Zach Kuhlman 4, Brad Recker 7. Totals: 11-15-40.
Score by quarters:
LCC 10 13 20 12 — 55
Ottawa-Glandorf 10 9 15 8 — 40
LCC—`Kimbrough 3, Taflinger 1; OG—`Bramlage 2, Recker 1
Records:`Lima Central Catholic 23-4;Ottawa-Glandorf 17-11.