ELIDA — Bath couldn’t miss.
And Lima Central Catholic quickly fell behind by a staggering 20.
Enter the LCC defense.
LCC’s defense swarmed Bath for the final two and a half quarters and pulled away with a 65-56 win in the opening round of the boys basketball Elida Tip-Off Classic on Friday night at the Elida Fieldhouse.
In the second game of the night, Elida defeated defending Tip-Off champion Shawnee 58-45.
LCC will meet Elida in the 8 p.m. Tip-Off championship game tonight. Shawnee will play in the 6:30 p.m. consolation game.
LCC rallied back from a 20-point deficit in the second quarter, then outscored Bath 19-6 in the third to take a 47-43 lead after three.
Mark Janowski, a 6-foot-8 senior, had 21 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks for LCC.
“Coach Kill said that might happen (Bath out to an early lead). I think it was a matter of us getting out on them and them missing shots in the second half,” Janowski said.
Janowski got help on the inside from 6-2 junior De’Montre Garner, who was primarily a junior varsity player last year.
Garner ended up with 15 points, six rebounds and five field goals down low.
“He’s (Garner) always had been good around the rim,” Janowski said.
LCC coach Frank Kill said, “When Mark (Janowski) is playing away from the basket, we have to find somebody down low and he (Garner) has that ability. In the second quarter, he made a strong move and it kind of got us going.’’
Biggz Johnson had 10 points, while Ron Banks had nine for LCC.
Banks also put the defensive clamps down on Bath’s Chad Frey, after Frey scored 10 in the first quarter.
“That’s what Ronnie Banks does,” Kill said. “I think in the second half our defense closed out quicker. We were in a place to get a better rebound and that’s what leads to our offense.’’
Frey led Bath with 21 points. Will Clark had 15 points, while Chad Kinyon had 13 points.
In the third quarter, Bath’s outside game cooled off.
LCC then began gobbling up rebounds and kicking it its transition game.
LCC took the lead to stay on Garner’s two foul shots to make it 52-51 with 3:33 to go.
Frey started hot for Bath in helping the Wildcats out to an early 12-5 lead. Bath hit its first four shots and Frey scored six of his team’s first 12 points.
Bath led 27-11 after the first quarter, with Bath hitting nine of its first 11 shots.
Frey had 10 points in the opening quarter, hitting 3 of 3 from the field.
Bath built its lead to 20, 33-13, early in the second quarter.
LCC came back with six straight points by Garner and ripped off a 15-4 run to get within 37-28 at the half.
“We got a few stops in the second quarter and made a run,” Kill said.
Elida 58, Shawnee 45
Elida made a true effort to ram the ball inside in the second half and it paid dividends against a Shawnee club which had no starter taller than 6-3.
Isaac McAdams and Donte Johnson pounded it down low in the second half and it was difference in Elida pulling away.
“We needed post touches (in the second half) and we needed to go inside-out a little bit,” Elida coach Denny Thompson said. “Once we got the post touches, they ended up turning into baskets for us.’’
Daniel Unruh led Elida with 19 points.
McAdams had 12 points. Johnson had 12 points and nine rebounds.
“At halftime, coach (Thompson) asked us how many post touches had we gotten,” McAdams said. “That opened our eyes a little bit. We have to reward our big guys when we run the floor.’’
Skyler Smith had nine points for Elida.
Johnny Caprella had 11 points and seven rebounds for Shawnee.
Riley Rosado had 11 points, while Tyler Moore had 10.
The game was tied at 34 midway through the third quarter.
That’s when Elida ripped off a 10-2 run to pull out to a 44-36 lead. During that stretch, McAdams found seams in the Shawnee 3-2 zone and zig-zagged his way to the basket three times.
Unruh also delivered on a driving basket and a free throw.
Elida led 44-38 after three quarters.
Johnson and McAdams both scored on layups early in the fourth and the Elida lead grew to 50-40 with 5:02 to go.
Elida forced 17 Shawnee turnovers.
Elida won the boards, 34-25.
“I thought our energy and intensity was much better in the third quarter and the whole second half,” Thompson said.
The Lima News sports department can be reached at 567-242-0451.