LIMA – The last time Lima Central Catholic and Delphos Jefferson squared off was in the sectional opener last year and the Wildcats sent the Thunderbirds packing from the postseason.
And while the stakes might not have been as high Friday night, LCC, thanks to a smothering defense performance, exacted a little revenge by beating the Wildcats, 58-36.
With the win, LCC improves to 3-1 on the season and Jefferson falls to 2-2 for the year.
LCC head coach Frank Kill was happy to get the win but said there is still plenty of room for improvement.
“The first half we were pretty good defensively,” Kill said. “We held them to 16 points and we really made them earn everything they got. I really thought our transition game was good when we got stops.”
Kill added that their offense had too many turnovers and were careless with players were forcing passes.
“Tonight we didn’t play our best basketball but we also know we played some good basketball at times. So we have a lot of work to do but after four games I have to pleased with our effort.”
Jefferson head coach Jorden Jettinghoff said his team did not execute its offense and it showed.
“We knew coming in we would have to run some sets and quite frankly we didn’t execute any of the sets we called,” Jettinghoff said. “That is just not being mentally prepared because when you play a good defensive, physical team like LCC you have to be able to execute sets or you can’t score.”
In the game, LCC held Jefferson to single digits in two of the four quarters and the Wildcats were 8-of-30 from the field. From behind the 3-point arc, Jefferson was a dismal 0-for-8.
Like Jefferson, LCC was not exactly lighting up the scoreboard, however, the Thunderbirds produced a second quarter where they outscored the Wildcats 19-12 to go up 29-16 at halftime. LCC opened that lead to 21, 43-22 at the end of the third quarter after outscoring Delphos 14-6.
The Wildcat did manage to cut the lead to 10 midway through the fourth quarter, 45-35, after opening the final stanza with a 13-2 run but some key buckets from Dominic Riepenhoff and De’Montre Garner helped hold off the Wildcats.
Janowski, who battled foul trouble throughout the game, scored nine of his game-high 13 points in the pivotal second quarter. Garner finished with 11 points and six rebounds and Brenden Stolly finished with 10 points.
Kill praised the efforts of Riepenhoff, who finished with six points, and Garner coming off the bench and providing quality minutes.
“He (Riepenhoff) hasn’t played a lot these last three games and but he was a guy that shined for us,” Kill said. “He took that opportunity and made the best of it. I thought Tre Garner gave us some good minutes but we know that we are more than just our bench and we have seven or eight guys that we rely on and we need to clean up our act.”
For the Wildcats Brenen Auer scored 15 points and grabbed seven rebounds.
Both teams face stiff competition tonight when Lima Central Catholic will host Ottawa-Glandorf and Delphos Jefferson faces Pandora-Gilboa.
Jose Nogueras can be reached at 567-242-0468.