LIMA — Scott stunned Lima Central Catholic out of the chute.
But the T-Birds rallied behind a strong defense and their up-tempo running game.
LCC held off Scott down the stretch with a 61-60 boys basketball victory Saturday at Herr Gymnasium.
“These guys have a lot of heart and I thought it was a total team effort,” LCC coach Frank Kill said.
LCC guard Shaun Thomas hit a 3-pointer from the right corner to give the T-Birds the lead to stay 57-54 with 1:26 to go.
“I’ve been shooting a lot more and it’s been falling in practice,” Thomas said.
Rossy Moore’s end-to-end layup gave LCC a 59-55 lead with 26 seconds to go.
Thomas then hit both free throws off the one-and-one with 7.3 seconds left to give LCC a 61-57 lead.
Scott’s Brandon Hendricks hit a 3-pointer with a second left to bring the Bulldogs within 61-60 right before the final horn.
LCC is 2-1. Scott is 0-2.
Thomas led LCC with 14 points, including 10 in the fourth quarter.
Moore came off the bench to deliver 12 points and four rebounds.
Biggz Johnson had 11 points and five rebounds.
De’Montre Garner, a 6-foot-4 senior, had 11 points and four rebounds, with 10 of his points coming after halftime.
“Tonight Tre (Garner) was a playmaker,” Kill said. “He was all over the floor, with deflections and getting some key rebounds when we needed them.’’
Scott stayed close down the stretch behind the long-range shooting of Genesis Warith, who had 24 points. He was 6 of 7 on 3-pointers from way behind the line.
Hendricks had 11 points, while Perrion Jones had 10 points.
Scott’s inside-power man Daivon Leiba had nine points.
LCC forced Scott into 26 turnovers, 20 of those coming after the first quarter when LCC switched to a 2-3 zone.
“We picked up the pressure,” Thomas said. “We kept getting ball deflections and everyone was diving on the floor. We were having fun. … I credit a lot of this win to the defense.’’
Scott went inside early to its big men and the Bulldogs went out to a quick 10-2 lead.
Scott led 18-5 after back-to-back 3-pointers by Warith.
Scott held a 24-11 lead after the first quarter.
“They definitely caught us off guard,” Thomas said.
LCC finally got its transition game in order in the second quarter.
Scott had 15 turnovers by halftime, including nine in the second quarter.
With LCC running the floor and scoring off fast-break layups, the T-Birds ended the second quarter on a 10-0 run to get within 28-27 at the half.
“We got stops, we forced them to take some outside shots, which helped our transition. And we went to a zone and were able to get in the passing lanes and get some deflections,” Kill said. “Guys like Shaun Thomas and Rossy Moore, who bring energy from the point on the defensive end, allow us to be creative. And Biggz Johnson was able to handle their pressure up and down the floor.’’
LCC kept rolling to start the second half and the T-Birds extended their run to 16-0 with a 33-28 lead with 4:46 left in the third.
But Warith sank a pair of NBA-like 3-pointers in the third quarter and the Bulldogs stayed within 39-36 after three quarters.
Scott also got in early foul trouble, with its big man Leiba picking up his third foul late in the first quarter. Leiba got two early baskets down low, but had four fouls with 3:37 left in the third quarter.
Scott won the boards, 24-23.
But in the final minutes, Scott had no answer for the fast-break attack of Moore, Thomas and Garner.
“Rossy’s (Moore’s) energy and Shaun’s (Thomas’) athleticism, with those two guys on the floor, is hard to match,” Kill said. “Tonight we were able to utilize both of them at the same time.’’
Reach The Lima News sports department at 567-242-0468.