LIMA — Lima Central Catholic’s boys basketball team, in a display of sportsmanship, presented the Bluffton banner that hung in the Monsignor E. C. Herr Gymnasium to the Bluffton Athletic Director before their final game as a member of the Northwest Conference.
From there it was take no prisoners as the T-Birds pressed, then pressed some more, as they blitzed the Pirates by a 75-24 margin that gave LCC a share of the NWC title.
Spencerville earned a share of the crown when it defeated Paulding on Friday night.
LCC forced the Pirates (9-12, 3-6 NWC) into 27 turnovers and when Bluffton was able to get the ball into scoring position it was only able to convert on 7-of-32 from the field for 31 percent shooting.
“They are good at forcing turnovers and we knew if the turnovers led to baskets we would be in trouble and that’s what happened in the first half (when the Pirates had 18 turnovers),” Bluffton coach Todd Boblitt said. “They are extremely good, and they took us to the woodshed in every way possible tonight.”
LCC (20-2, 8-1 NWC) jumped out to a 26-8 lead after one quarter of play and the big question at that point was the final score.
The T-Birds would go on to place 12 players in the scoring column with Martyce Kimbrough the only player in the game to reach double figures with his 10-point effort.
LCC took a 41-14 lead to the half and grew their lead to 57-19 going to the final quarter of play.
“We have had two weeks of really good practices and our depth allows us to play baseline to baseline defense,” LCC coach Frank Kill said. “This was about our four seniors (Tre’on Johnson, Sam Huffman, Jarren Crawford, and Tom Judy) tonight. They have shown great leadership and went out with class.”
Johnson, who has led the T-Birds to a 61-9 record the last three seasons, opened the scoring with a 3-pointer and finished his final game at Monsignor E. C. Gymnasium with eight points.
“We were focused tonight and wanted to control the game at both the offensive and defensive ends,” Johnson said. “I knew it was my last home game, but now I’m looking forward to the tournament.”
The T-Birds, thanks to numerous break away lay-ups off of steals, hit 30-of-48 field goal attempts in the game for a sizzling 62 percent.
Junior Noah Stratton led Bluffton with a nine-point effort effort.
Besides the 10 points from Kimbrough, Crawford had nine points and four steals for LCC while Johnson and Jake Williams had eight points each.