MILLER CITY – Lima Central Catholic’s Jessica Wilker was stunned for a second when she saw no between her and the basket.
Wilker drove in for a layup and converted it into a three-point play.
Wilker came up big for the T-Birds in a late run to help LCC post a 46-37 girls basketball victory over Miller City Wednesday at Leopold Gymnasium.
Rosie Williams led the T-Birds with 17 points and eight rebounds.
Wilker had nine points and nine rebounds.
Erin Mulcahy hit a key 3-pointer and had 11 points.
“We have to get the ball inside,” LCC coach Ron Williams said. “And I thought Erin Mulcahy and Jessie Wilker really helped us tonight, offensively.
“And I put Sophia Santaguida I put her on 23 (Natalie Koenig), who is a nice player. We were almost playing a box-and-one on 23.’’
Mary Kelly Mulcahy had six points and four rebounds.
LCC is 6-6. Miller City is 6-5.
Natalie Koenig had 13 points and 10 rebounds for Miller City.
Freshman Abi Lammers had 10 points and six rebounds.
Kylie Berner had six points and six rebounds.
The game was tied at 23 late in the third quarter when Wilker’s putback gave the T-Birds the lead to stay 25-23 with 2:22 left in the third.
“This year we have more of a drive to win,” Wilker said. “Last year I was new to playing varsity, so it was a big step to me. This year I think we’re more comfortable with playing and have more of a will to win.’’
After a Sophia Santaguida free throw, LCC led 26-23.
That’s when Erin Mulcahy drilled a 3-pointer to make it 29-23.
Then, Wilker got the ball on the left wing, 20 feet from the basket, after a timeout. She turned and no one was between her and the basket.
Wilker chalked up the driving layup and foul shot to make it 32-23.
“I was a little confused at first because they had been face-guarding me,” Wilker said. “Then, I didn’t see anyone, so I just went in. Then, all of a sudden, someone just crashed on me (for the foul).’’
Wilker scored on another driving layup.
That capped an 11-0 LCC run to push the T-Birds lead to 34-23 with 5:56 left.
Miller City continued to ram it inside and Lammers got back-to-back layups.
Miller City got as close as five three times.
The final time came after an Abby Niese 3-pointer to make it 40-35 with 1:16 to go.
Mary Kelly Mulcahy finished it off for LCC by hitting 4 of 4 at the foul line in the final 40 seconds.
Miller City shot 33 percent from the field and was 1 of 16 on 3-pointers.
LCC shot 38 percent from the field and was 1 of 9 on threes.
LCC won the boards, 33-31.
“We came up with some defensive rebounds and made sure they weren’t able to get back in it with easy baskets,” Williams said.
Miller City led 12-8 after the first quarter and it was tied at 16 at the half.
LCC came out in a man-to-man and Miller City cut through it for easy layups early.
The Wildcats went out to an 8-0 lead, with three layups and one 5-footer.
Time out LCC.
“Our goal was to pound it inside, then open things up and hit some outside shots, but I think we were 1 for 16 from the 3-point line,” Miller City coach Ross Heuerman said. “They did what they had to do (with a zone) to shut us down.
“We like to establish our game down low early and Natalie (Koenig) is a dominate scoring down there. She can attack the rim hard and if she doesn’t have a shot, she can kick it out.’’
The T-Birds switched to a 2-3 zone and Miller City was forced to shoot from the perimeter.
“They are so well coached and they move the ball so well and they run a good offense, I was afraid we may not be able to keep them in front of us and we weren’t,” LCC coach Williams said. “So I switched to zone right away after 8-0 and that changed everything. They got shots after that, but they were much better getting to the basket with layups.’’
LCC went inside to Williams, as the T-Birds got within 12-8 at the first-quarter break.
Williams had eight points at the half, as the game was tied at 16.