LIMA — Lima Central Catholic’s high-energy player Rossy Moore was out with the flu.
So filling in with a double dose of the dirty work inside was Michael Jay Riepenhoff.
Riepenhoff scored a career-high 17 points to help LCC post a 55-40 boys basketball victory Tuesday night against Wapakoneta at Herr Gymnasium.
Riepenhoff also had a team-high six rebounds.
“Someone had to fill Rossy’s spot, but I didn’t intentionally try to go out there and drop 17,” Riepenhoff said. “Everyone helped out and it wasn’t a one-man effort.’’
Biggz Johnson had 13 points for LCC.
Shaun Thomas added nine points. Nate Stolly and Meshaud Moore both scored six.
Noah Ambos led Wapak with 17 points with three 3-pointers.
Garrett Siefring had seven points and eight boards.
Long-range bomber Reed Merricle was held to two points on only three shots.
LCC stands 10-8.
Wapak is 5-12.
LCC led 27-18 at the half, but Wapakoneta went on a 6-0 run to start the third quarter and sliced the lead to 27-24 with 4:16 left in the third.
That’s when LCC rolled out its 1-2-2 press.
The press caused havoc and sparked the T-Birds on a 16-3 run to end the quarter.
“We wanted to change the tempo, change the look,” LCC coach Frank Kill said. “I thought our guys adapted well with the change of press. That’s what set the tone. We got stops and turned them into easy buckets. And when you can do that, it’s a fun game to play.’’
When the third quarter was over, LCC had a 43-27 lead.
“It (the zone press) changed the pace,” Riepenhoff said. “They go from slow to fast. It’s not always about getting deflections, it’s changing the pace of the game and us controlling the pace.’’
The T-Birds gobbled up seven Wapak turnovers in the third quarter.
Wapak had 22 turnovers for the game.
“We didn’t handle their quickness or their pressure well at all,” Wapak coach Doug Davis said. “We didn’t protect the basketball. We had the ball out in front of us and dribbled it into traffic. That’s not a good recipe against this team. They’re quick.’’
The bulk of the Wapak turnovers were turned into LCC transition points.
LCC had 25 baskets, and of those, 21 were layups.
“That’s good basketball and we didn’t shoot extremely well (from the outside) tonight,” Kill said.
Wapak won the boards, 24-21.
LCC shot 48 percent from the field and was 3 of 14 on 3-pointers.
Wapak shot 48 percent from the field and was 5 of 13 on 3-pointers.
LCC’s halfcourt man defense caused problems for Wapak early.
The T-Birds forced Wapak into six first-quarter turnovers and 11 for the first half.
LCC led 11-9 after the first quarter and extended its lead to 27-18 at the half.
The T-Birds used a 6-0 run in the second quarter to pull out to a 21-11 lead with 3:29 left before halftime.
During that run, LCC’s Ethan Bowker scored back-to-back fast-break layups.
By halftime, LCC had scored 11 of its 13 baskets via layups, many off the break.
Riepenhoff, a 6-foot post player, continually got inside and battled for rebounds. He scored six points in the second quarter and six points in the final quarter.
“Tonight he (Riepenhoff) was very crafty and creative,” Kill said.
Reach The Lima News sports department at 567-242-0451.