LIMA — Stunning.
Spencerville not only knocked off Lima Central Catholic, it won the game in every way possible.
Spencerville turned on a power hose and shot LCC right out of Monsignor Herr Gymnasium with a 51-39 boys basketball victory Friday night.
The Bearcats (10-6) are now tied with LCC (17-2) atop the Northwest Conference, both at 6-1.
“Heart. You have to want it and we wanted it bad,” Spencerville’s Derek Goecke said.
Spencerville outhustled LCC, outrebounded LCC and easily outshot the T-Birds. But more than anything else, the Bearcats won the battle of the loose rebounds and the loose balls.
“That’s what it had to take,” Spencerville coach Kevin Sensabaugh said. “They are an extremely talented basketball team and for us to be able to win that game we had to come out with a lot more passion and energy than we’ve ever come out with this year and we did.
“This was not nearly as much about Xs and as it was about them fighting their tails off and they did that tonight.”
Derek Goecke, a 6-foot-2 senior, led Spencerville with 18 points and 15 rebounds. His effort helped the Bearcats win the rebounding battle, 37-29.
“Our job on the boards was unreal,” Sensabaugh said. “I thought our guys battled like they’ve never battled before on the boards. We had a sense of urgency to get the basketball and we needed to. … He (Derek Goecke) was unreal. When he plays well, we’re a lot different team.”
LCC coach Frank Kill felt Spencerville won every facet of the game.
“They outrebounded us, they outhustled us and they outperformed us for 32 minutes,” Kill said. “I’m glad it’s game 19 and not 23. Maybe this is a wake-up call for us.”
The Bearcats had four players in double figures. Besides Derek Goecke, Ben Bowers scored 11. Freshman Zach Goecke and Dominick Corso both scored 10. Zach Goecke also had six rebounds.
Spencerville controlled the tempo and didn’t allow the T-Birds to push the pedal down on their running game. Even when LCC picked up a turnover, Spencerville hustled back and usually prevented the easy transition basket.
“It wasn’t necessarily to play slow,” Sensabaugh said. “That wasn’t the goal. It was just to make sure we take good shots. I thought if we took good shots we could keep them out of transition a little bit. And we took good shots.”
Spencerville led 10-5 after the first quarter and pushed its lead to 14-5 early in the second quarter after a Bowers’ 3-pointer.
By halftime, Spencerville led 21-15. At the half, Spencerville hit 9 of 18 from the field, while LCC hit 4 of 20.
It was more of the same in the second half.
“Coach Sensabaugh had them well prepared and they were more motivated than we were,” Kill said.
Spencerville scored the first 10 points of the third quarter to open up a 31-15 lead. The Bearcats’ lead was 19, 41-22, with 4:02 to go in the game.
LCC came back behind Tre’on Johnson’s nine fourth-quarter points to get within 10, 47-37, with 55 seconds left. That was as close a run as the T-Birds could make in the second half.
Johnson and Xavier Simpson led the T-Birds with 11 points each. Jake Williams had eight rebounds and three points.
Spencerville shot 50 percent from the field and 2 of 9 on 3-pointers. LCC shot 25 percent from the field and was 2 of 12 on 3-pointers. Spencerville had 20 turnovers, while LCC had 17.
With two games left, the NWC is now a race to the end.
“We’re two wins away from putting numbers on that banner,” Derek Goecke said. “And that’ll be there forever.”