HARROD — A true coaching nightmare is when an opponent’s strength is your teams weakness.
Such was the case Friday night when Lima Central Catholic pummeled Allen East 79-45 in Northwest Conference action.
With the win, the T-Birds and Spencerville — which beat Lincolnview on Friday 60-31 — head into the final week of the conference schedule in a tie for first in the NWC at 7-1 each. LCC (18-2) plays host to Bluffton on Friday while Spencerville travels to Paulding as both try to claim a share of the title.
The Mustangs have struggled against full-court pressure all year and the T-Birds are quick and athletic at the guard position.
That combination led to 29 Allen East turnovers that resulted in numerous break-away lay-ups for LCC.
Toss in the fact the T-Birds hit 11-of-23 three-pointers and the lopsided victory was on.
LCC jumped out to a quick 19-8 lead after one period behind eight first-quarter points from Tre’on Johnson and five more by Martyce Kimbrough. That duo would go on and post a game-high total of 16 points each.
A 10-0 run late in the second quarter by the T-Birds blew the game open and LCC took 40-22 to the halftime break.
“Their pressure out front really took a toll,” Mustangs coach Rick Sherrick said. “Their strength is our weakness and then they got off to a good start and that 10-0 run kind of put it out of reach.”
LCC pushed the lead to 65-33 after three periods and their starters were done for the night.
“Our defense created the offense for us with those early steals that ended with lay-ups,” LCC coach Frank Kill said. “Anytime we can get both Tre’on and Martyce going, we are going to have a good game.”
Johnson and Kimbrough were joined in double-figure scoring by Xavier Simpson with 11 points and Jake Williams with his 10-point effort.
Clay Plaugher led Allen East (2-16, 0-8 NWC) in scoring with 14 points, while Marcos Quintero and senior Tanner Richardson both chipped in with 10 points.
“We are really going to miss Richardson (after graduation),” Sherrick said. “We have lost nine games by nine points or less and these kids work hard and stay together; they have been a great group.”
LCC shot the ball at a 45 percent clip in the game as they connected on 32-of-71 from the field compared to 40 percent for the Mustangs who hit 18-of-44 from the floor.
Both struggled from the free throw line with the Mustangs hitting 6-of-14 while the T-Birds really struggled as they connected on only 4-of-17 from the line.
“We wanted to dictate the tempo tonight,” Kill said. “Good things are going to happen when we can put the pressure on.”
LCC committed only 11 turnovers in the game compared to the 29 they forced the Mustangs into.