Apparently, someone forgot to remind Paulding it had lost 16 games in the regular season.
Lima Central Catholic (14-9) barely avoided a big upset by the Panthers (6-17) when it escaped with a 49-47 win on Tuesday night in its Division III boys basketball sectional opener at the Elida Fieldhouse.
Rossy Moore scored 10 points and Nate Stolly and Biggz Johnson each had nine points for LCC. Paulding’s Payton Beckman had 17 points and Blake McGarvey scored 13 points.
Johnson had all nine of his points in the final 11:52 of the game and Stolly got eight of his nine points in the second half, including two big 3-pointers.
Paulding went out to a 43-39 with 4:24 to play in the game and was still up by two points, 47-45 with a minute and a half left in the game.
LCC tied it with 58 seconds to play on an offensive rebound by Rodney Bennett, then got the eventual winning basket on a drive by Johnson with 21 seconds to play.
“Wow. Survive and advance. We’ve traditionally played to the level of our competition. We didn’t come out and play to the level of our ability,” LCC coach Frank Kill said. “Our level of intensity just wasn’t there.
“When you’ve got guys who are 6-16, they’re playing their butt off, they’re playing for their team, they’re playing for pride. I thought our level of pride wasn’t where it needed to be if we want to make a tournament run.
“Nate Stolly hit some big shots. I thought we played very unselfishly to get him some good looks against that zone. Nate was our zone buster tonight,” he said.
Paulding led 24-22 at halftime after any momentum LCC gained by making a fast start quickly dissipated.
On its first two possessions of the game LCC beat the Panthers down the floor for a 3-point play by Shaun Thomas and a bucket by Rossy Moore on a fast break for a 5-0 lead.
But by the end of the first quarter, the game was tied 12-12. Paulding went up 18-14 at the 5:45 mark of the second quarter.
LCC responded by going on an 8-0 run to take a 22-19 lead with two minutes to play in the first half, but Paulding answered again to regain the lead after two quarters.
Fairview 45, Delphos Jefferson 44
Fairview built a 15-point in the first half, saw Delphos Jefferson come all the way back to take the lead in the final minute, but advanced after Russ Zeedyk hit the game winner after Jefferson had taken its only lead of the game.
Cade Polter’s 14 points led Fairview (11-12). Ian Wannemacher had 17 points and 8 rebounds and Hunter Mericle scored 10 points for Jefferson (8-15).
Fairview led 25-10 midway through the second quarter after hitting four 3-pointers in the first quarter and a half. Meanwhile Jefferson connected on only 8 of 27 shots in the first half.
The Apaches led 39-28 early in the fourth quarter before Jefferson began chipping away at that lead.
A hoop and a free throw by Wannemacher brought Jefferson to within one point, 43-42, with 1:28 to play.
After a turnover by each team, Hunter Mericle stole the ball and scored on a lay-up with 54 seconds to play to put the Wildcats in front 44-43.
But Fairview had an answer when Zeedyk retrieve a missed shot and scored the deciding bucket.
Fairview will play Wayne Trace at 6:15 p.m. Friday at Elida in a sectional championship game.
Reach Jim Naveau at 567-242-0414.