BLUFFTON — Lima Central Catholic came out of the gate with a flurry in Tuesday’s Division III sectional girls basketball game against Perry.
Then the T-Birds closed the game out with another big flurry, en route to a 57-15 victory over Perry.
With the win, LCC (3-20) will take on No. 1 seed Ottawa-Glandorf on Saturday night in a sectional championship game at Bluffton, with tip-off set for 6 p.m. O-G was ranked ninth in the state in Division III in the final weekly Associated Press poll.
Perry’s cold shooting from the floor, along with the tough matchup down low, proved to be the downfall for the Commodores on Tuesday.
Tae Rios, a 5-foot, 10-inch post player for LCC, scored all 14 of her total points in the first half – all inside moves down low. Rios also pulled down a game-high 14 rebounds.
“She had a fantastic game,” LCC coach Ron Williams said of Rios. “She just kept going to the basket. We kept getting the ball inside. All our girls inside have done a good job of catching it low and throwing it back out; and also scoring when they can. Tae did a great job tonight. She had a lot of rebounds and Hailey Koenig (11 rebounds) had a bunch of rebounds, too.”
LCC was without the services of Coach Williams’ daughter, Rosie Williams, a 5-10 sophomore post player, who is out with an injured shoulder.
Freshman Kennedy Parker came off the bench and scored eight points for the T-Birds. Teammate Sophia Santaguida added seven points and four boards. LCC had 12 players crack the scoring column.
Zierre Thompson led Perry (1-22) with seven points.
For the game, Perry struggled at the offensive end, shooting just 11 percent from the field. LCC shot 40 percent from the floor.
“We did a really good job of moving the ball tonight,” Williams said. “We took a lot of shots. But, as long as we’re getting those kind of shots, I’m happy to see that. That’s the main thing we need to do. If we can do that, we’re going to keep improving.”
LCC started the game with an 11-0 run, and Perry missed its first 10 shots of the contest as the T-Birds pulled out to a 14-2 lead by the end of the first quarter. The Commodores struggled, hitting just 1 of 12 shots from the field.
Perry’s shooting woes continued in the second quarter as the Commodores connected on just 1 of 8 from the floor. Rios proved to be a tough matchup for the Commodores inside. Rios scored 10 points inside the paint in the second quarter – all of LCC’s second-quarter points.
LCC’s lead ballooned to 47-14 by the end of the third quarter. The T-Birds made 9 of 15 from the floor. Eight different players scored for LCC in the third frame.
For the game, LCC controlled the boards, 47-32.
Perry committed 22 turnovers, while LCC turned the ball over just 11 times.
“I think they wore us down, and we didn’t rebound very well at all,” Perry coach Ted Patton said. “We just didn’t play as well as LCC tonight.”
LCC has the lofty challenge of playing O-G Saturday night.
“Obviously, it will be a little different opponent on Saturday night,” Williams said. “I told our girls that this is their chance to see where they need to get to, in order to reach the kind of level that we want to reach. So, it’s a good game for us to play.”
The Lima News sports department can be reached at 567-242-0451.