WAPAKONETA — It was the ultimate good news/bad news night for Lima Central Catholic on Friday night in the Division III sectional finals at Wapakoneta.
The T-Birds used a 25-0 run to brush aside Delphos Jefferson by a 55-33 final for the good news. Freshman standout Xavier Simpson was in street clothes with a groin injury and his status is uncertain for the bad news.
Spencerville provided itself with some good news in the nightcap at Wapakoneta, beating Coldwater 57-49. The Bearcats will face Liberty-Benton in the district semifinals at 6:15 p.m. Thursday at Lima Senior.
The LCC-Jefferson game, meanwhile, was tied at 6-6 early in the first quarter when the LCC defense took control and scored the final nine points of the first period to grab a 15-6 first quarter lead.
The T-Birds continued their pressure defense that caused eight first quarter turnovers by the Wildcats and forced seven more second quarter turnovers that allowed LCC to score the first 16 points of the period to grab control of the game with a 31-6 lead.
Delphos Jefferson (5-18) scored its only point of the second quarter when Trey Smith converted one of two free throws only 1:15 before halftime.
LCC went to the break with an insurmountable 34-7 lead.
“I thought in the first 16 minutes that we set the tone for the game, we rebounded and transitioned into lay-ups,” LCC coach Frank Kill said. “When we defend and rebound the way we did tonight it leads to good things.”
Martyce Kimbrough scored 14 points for the T-Birds (21-2), which included four 3-pointers, Tre’on Johnson had 13 points and Jake Williams had 10 points.
Jefferson got a game-high 18-point effort from Ross Thompson while Smith chipped in with 10 for the Wildcats.
The LCC pressure caused the Wildcats to turn the ball over 28 times while the T-Birds committed only 14 turnovers in the game.
LCC hit 24-of-54 from the field for 44 percent while Jefferson ended the night hitting 11-of-36 for 30 percent.
“We tried to stay focused and poised the second half and were able to get the kids some tournament experience,” Kill said. “I thought Jake Williams and Cory Stewart did a really good job on the boards, but we have to improve to move on.”
LCC advances to the Lima Senior district where the T-birds will play Carey at 8 p.m. Thursday. Carey beat Bloomdale Elmwood 60-42 on Friday.
Spencerville 57, Coldwater 49
In the nightcap, Spencerville remained undefeated since the Jan. 28 birth of Blake Sensabaugh, the third son of Bearcats coach Kevin Sensabaugh.
Coldwater (9-14) and Spencerville battled back and forth with the Cavaliers leading 12-10 after one quarter of play and the Bearcats bouncing back to grab a 23-21 lead after two periods of action.
The teams were still tied at 27-27 when Spencerville junior Ben Bowers hit back-to-back 3-pointers that gave the Bearcats a huge lift and a 33-27 lead.
“That was our first trey of the game and it gave us some energy,” Bearcats coach Sensabaugh said.
Spencerville (15-7) went on to take a 40-31 lead after three quarters and hit 12-of-17 free throws in the final period to grab the game and the sectional title.
One of the keys to the win was the fact Spencerville took control of the boards in the second half, claiming a 20-12 edge the final 16 minutes.
“We talked about rebounding at halftime; we said if we could win that battle we can win the game,” Sensabaugh said. “We haven’t been the best free throw shooting team, but we have been better the last two weeks. I’m proud of our guys and we’ll concentrate on Liberty-Benton.”
Bowers and Derek Goecke both totaled 18 points for Spencerville while younger brother Zach Goecke added 10.
The Cavaliers got 18 points from Austin Bruns and Brody Hoying chipped in with 13 for Coldwater.