LIMA — Less than two weeks ago at the Elida Tip Off Classic, Lima Central Catholic’s defensive pressure forced 38 Bath turnovers, en route to a 30-point win over the Wildcats.
At Tuesday’s rematch, Bath did not turn the ball over quite as much as it did in the first game. However, LCC ‘s quickness proved to be too much for the Wildcats in the second half, as the T-Birds pulled away for a convincing 78-47 victory over Bath in boys basketball action at Msgr. Edward C. Herr Gymnasium.
After a first half in which Bath turned the ball over just five times and was within 11 points at the halftime break, LCC then turned it up a notch and out-scored Bath by 20 points in the final 16 minutes of action.
LCC (3-1) had 11 players crack the scoring column. Shaun Thomas led the T-Birds with 15 points, including three 3-pointers. De’Montre Garner scored 11 points (nine in the first half), while pulling down five rebounds. Jaron Banks had 10 points, four rebounds and three assists for the T-Birds.
Derrick Grigsby led Bath (0-4) with 17 points and four rebounds.
LCC’s was off and running in the second half.
“That’s kind of our MO this year,” LCC coach Frank Kill said. “That’s what we kind of feast off of; to see if we can get some transition points that way, because they are easy buckets. You work so hard in the half-court (offense), and if you can take advantage of some steals by jumping into the passing lanes, we want to do that.”
LCC jumped out quickly on Bath, pulling out to an 18-7 lead by the end of the first quarter. Garner led the T-Birds with six first-quarter points. Bath managed just seven shot attempts in the first stanza (2 for 7).
The Wildcats opened the second quarter on a 7-0 run, cutting the deficit to 4, 18-14 by the 6:10 mark. Grigsby got busy, scoring twice down low.
The T-Birds pulled out to a 35-24 lead by the halftime break.
Grigsby had 13 first-half points for the Wildcats, with 11 points coming in the second quarter. Garner led the T-Birds, scoring nine points.
In the second half, the T-Birds took the game over.
LCC extended its lead to 49-29 with 3:28 left to play in the third quarter on a 3-pointer by Nate Stolly (seven points). Bath turned the ball over six times during that stretch.
LCC led 57-32 by the third stop.
Thomas came up big in the second half for LCC, hitting twice behind the 3-point line and making several good defensive plays.
“I thought Shaun Thomas was all over the floor tonight with rebounds, deflections and steals,” Kill said. “He was kind of the go-to guy, that really got us going.”
LCC shot 9 of 13 from the floor in the final quarter.
For the game, LCC shot 47 percent from the field. Bath connected on 37 percent of its field goal attempts.
LCC won the battle on the boards, 36-26.
“We didn’t turn it over as much as we did the first time,” Bath coach Shawn Allen said. “We cut it in about half. We’ve done a lot of good things and we’re doing a lot of good things now. But we have to string the dots together to make the run. That’s what we keep talking about – connecting the dots.
“We’re young. We’re inexperienced. We do good things but we don’t do them consistently. Right now, LCC is just tougher than us.”
Kill was pleased at how his bench contributed Tuesday night.
“When you can get guys to come off the bench and give you that kind of production, it makes substituting a lot easier,” Kill said with a grin. “Tonight, it was a total team effort. Everybody got in and contributed. I love seeing the guys who play the most still continue to cheer on the other guys that don’t get to play a whole lot.”
Reach The Lima News sports department at 567-242-0451.