LIMA — There wasn’t much need for nail-biting or sitting on the edge of the seat.
But with the one-sided Lima Central Catholic victory, there was plenty of time to watch T-Birds guard Martyce Kimbrough run the show.
Kimbrough had 16 points, eight rebounds and several assists to lead LCC to a 59-30 victory over Lincolnview in the Northwest Conference boys basketball opener Saturday at Msgr. Herr Gymnasium.
Kimbrough led the team in rebounding and scoring, along with hitting three 3-pointers and shoveling off several assists. He played both point guard and the No. 2 guard.
Kimbrough admitted that his role has expanded this season.
“Last year we had three great seniors in Billy Taflinger, Ty O’Connor and John Kidd and they were our leaders,” Kimbrough said. “Last year my role was more of a shooter. This year I have to become more of a leader, both vocally and by example. I have to run the point, score, play defense and do whatever I have to do to win.”
LCC coach Frank Kill acknowledged that Kimbrough must do more this year.
“Now he’s become that leader, he’s become that floor general,” Kill said. “He knows he’s going to have to do more than scoring.”
LCC stands 3-1, 1-0 NWC. Lincolnview is 0-3, 0-1 NWC.
For LCC, Darius West had 13 points and five rebounds. Xavier Simpson had nine points. Sam Huffman had nine points and six rebounds.
Kyle Williams led the Lancers with 13 points.
Lincolnview jumped out to an early 8-4 lead. LCC bounced back and ripped off a 13-0 burst to grab a 17-8 lead.
“They’re (Lincolnview) trying to find their identity and when they get up on you real quick on you, our guys have to realize that from the tip we have to play 32 minutes,” Kill said. “Great teams play 32 minutes and we want to become a great team. We’re not there yet. We can’t take plays off.”
During that key stretch, Simpson and Kimbrough both knocked down 3-pointers, while Tre’on Johnson sank a 3-pointer and a 15-footer.
“We all realized that we had to pick up the pace,” Kimbrough said. “They got off to an early lead and we had to keep playing hard.”
LCC’s lead was 23-11 by the end of the first quarter. The T-Birds took a 30-15 lead into halftime and weren’t challenged the rest of the way.
The LCC defense forced 15 Lincolnview turnovers and held the Lancers to 24 percent shooting for the game.
“The number one thing we pride ourselves on is our defense because we know our defense leads our offense,” Kimbrough said. “We’re not the biggest team, but we’re a quick and fast team.”
LCC won the boards, 36-15, including 13-4 at the offensive end. LCC shot 46 percent from the field.
“We shot the ball well in spurts,” Kill said. “One thing we have to recognize is that when we’re not shooting the ball well, we have to continue to attack.”
The NWC victory is the first step for the T-Birds in their final season in the NWC.
“This is our last year and we won’t have this chance again,” Kimbrough said. “Since it’s our last chance, we’ll make it our best chance.”