ELIDA — Shawnee’s George Mangas grabbed the game early with both hands and didn’t let loose.
Mangas tossed in a career-high 35 points to power Shawnee to a 70-54 boys basketball victory over Lima Central Catholic on the opening night of the Mercy Health Tip-Off Tournament on Friday night at the Elida Fieldhouse.
It marked the 31st Tip-Off Classic.
“I knew they weren’t big, so we wanted to pound it inside,” Mangas said. “They got me the ball, I got in the post and that’s basically what happened the whole first half.’’
Defending Tip-Off champion Shawnee (1-0) will meet Elida (1-0) in the Tip-Off championship at 8 p.m. Saturday night at the Elida Fieldhouse.
Bath (0-1) will play LCC (0-1) at 6:30 p.m. at the Fieldhouse.
Elida won the second game of the night over Bath, 63-56.
Mangas, a 6-foot-3 junior helped Shawnee to the regional finals last year.
He came right out and picked up where he left off a year ago in driving to the basket nearly at will.
Mangas scored 17 points in the first quarter and had 28 at the half.
In the first half alone, Mangas was 11 of 14 from the floor.
Caden Vermillion added 12 points and 10 rebounds for Shawnee.
Tyson Elwer added nine points and nine rebounds.
Shawnee won the boards, 31-20, and took the battle inside to the paint.
“We talked about playing inside, out, but at first we were jacking up shots and didn’t make them do a whole lot (defensively),” Shawnee coach Mark Triplett said. “But when we got the ball inside to George (Mangas) and Tyson (Elwer), they didn’t have a lot of size to match up with us in there.’’
For LCC, Biggz Johnson scored 21 points.
Evan Unruh had 20 points and four 3-pointers for the T-Birds.
In the first quarter Mangas had it all revved up as the Indians ripped off a 16-2 burst to take a 22-9 lead.
During that run, Mangas hit a layup, a driving layup, another layup and two fast-break layups against the LCC man press.
“They tried to double-team the corners and if we got out of that, we wanted to run and it was two-on-two in transition,” Mangas said.
The Indians led 25-13 after the first quarter.
“George is a kid where you look up and all of a sudden he has 10, he has 20, he has 25, he has 30 and he gets it out of the offense,” Triplett said. “The kid can flat-out score. He’s a gifted scorer and he works extremely hard.’’
LCC stayed within range and trailed Shawnee 43-34 at the half.
For LCC, Elida transfer Unruh started and had 13 points at the half, including three 3-pointers.
Johnson had 15 at the half, hitting driving layups and outside jumpers.
In the second quarter Unruh sank two threes and Johnson canned one three to help get the Indians’ lead down from 15 to nine.
Shawnee led 58-48 after three quarters and LCC wasn’t able to chop the lead down under 10 the rest of the way.
LCC’s Shaun Thomas clamped down on Mangas in the second half and made Mangas work for his points.
But the 6-5 Vermillion began going inside instead. He scored 10 of his 12 points in the second half from down low.
Shawnee hit 63 percent from the field, with many of those shots layups. The Indians were 2 of 7 on 3-pointers.
LCC shot 40 percent from the field and was 5 of 13 on threes.
Elida 63, Bath 56
In the second game of the Tip-Off Classic, Elida’s Quan Moore scored 19 of his 22 points in the second half to ignite the Bulldogs past Bath.
Elida led 48-46 after three quarters and it was close until the end.
Moore scored nine points in the final quarter and also hit 3 of 4 foul shots in the final 41 seconds.
Moore’s driving layup gave Elida the lead to stay 50-48 with 5:45 to play.
He hit another layup to make it 58-54 with 1:30 to go.
Dylan Buetner scored 13 for Elida. Tyler Long had nine on three 3-pointers.
Elida led 14-8 after the first quarter and held a 31-25 lead at the half.
The Bulldogs made four 3-pointers in the opening quarter and had canned eight by halftime.
Elida ended up with 10 3-pointers for the game.
Landyn Fleharty scored 14 for Bath. Jonah Wauben and Lucas Prichard both scored 12.
Reach The Lima News sports department at 567-242-0451.