LIMA – At the exact moment Lima Central Catholic needed someone to take control, Madison Stolly did.
And she never let up.
Stolly broke LCC’s girls basketball single-game scoring record with 39 points Monday, beating visiting Van Wert 71-61 in a nonleague game at Msgr. E. C. Herr Gymnasium.
Stolly’s 39 broke Molly Sites’ record-setting performance of 38 points on Dec. 15, 1980.
“I’m ecstatic about it,” said Stolly, who scored LCC’s first 20 points. “It wasn’t my main priority. It was a goal of mine at some point but I’ve always been taught win first. But it’s a great experience.”
And because she’s just a sophomore, the 5-foot-8 guard is her own worst threat to the record. In fact, she scored 37 earlier this season against Bluffton.
“Tonight she really gathered herself and focused,” LCC coach Katie Krieg said. “She can always get to the rim but she doesn’t always put it in because she’s out of control. She was much more under control, much more balanced.”
Stolly is also a threat to the LCC girls basketball career scoring record, which is Jill Downing’s 1,207 points. According to Krieg, Stolly is on pace to have around 800 points by the end of this season.
“Her style is scoring points and she wants to do that,” Krieg said. “With age and maturity, she’ll be able to do that.”
Monday’s performance wasn’t just about breaking records, it was necessary because the T-Birds (11-7) started sluggish and trailed 10-0 early. But the defense and rebounding picked up and so did Stolly, who scored 15 points to help LCC cut the deficit to 18-15 after one quarter.
Stolly – who constantly drove the lane all night to create scoring opportunities at the basket and the foul line – then scored five more points to cut it 23-20 midway through the second. LCC finally knotted the game at 23-23 when Kayla Verhoff sunk a 3-pointer at the 3:12 mark.
LCC took a 26-24 lead moments later and never gave it back.
“We came out slow, the press rushed us a little bit,” Stolly said. “Then we started getting back under control, started stepping up our defense. Our defense creates our offense.”
Though the scoring was more balanced for LCC in the second half, Stolly still had a big hand with 18 points as the T-birds pulled away. Verhoff got hot in the second half with four of her five 3-pointers, finishing with 15 points and eight rebounds, while point guard Sydney Santaguida finished with seven points, five steals and four assists.
“I was worried before the game, I told the girls we haven’t improved that much from Game One to now,” Krieg said. “But tonight a lot of the girls made a big jump. I saw mental toughness, physical toughness, working hard and the rebounding improved.”
Alexis Dowdy scored 16 points for Van Wert (4-14) while Erin Morrow had 13 points.
“We played hard, we just didn’t play smart,” Van Wert coach Lance Moonshower said. “We knew what (Stolly) was going to do, we talked about it the whole way. And then when she did it eight times in a row, you’d think we’d wise up. She just got to where she wanted to go and played one heck of a game.”