LIMA – Lima Central Catholic thrives on pushing the pace.
LCC boys basketball head coach Frank Kill says it all starts with defensive intensity.
In Saturday’s game against visiting Celina, LCC set the tone early and then pulled away for a 71-37 shellacking of Celina at Edward C. Herr Gymnasium.
The Thunderbirds opened the contest with a 17-0 run, and never looked back.
Evan Unruh and Bryan Hines led Lima Central Catholic (11-9) in scoring with 14 points each. Unruh had four 3-pointers, all in the first half. Unruh also dished out five assists. Hines made two steals at the defensive end.
Rossy Moore, a 6-foot-1 senior guard for LCC, had 12 points, 10 rebounds, three assists and two steals.
“We talk about defensive intensity and playing together,” Kill said. “We’ve been going through a couple spells where we really haven’t gotten the good vibes and the good outcomes that we want. Tonight, we just went out there and played as a team, and as a unit.”
Reeves Black led Celina (5-14) with eight points, including a 3-pointer.
Lima Central Catholic set the tone right from the opening tip.
The T-Birds opened the game with a combination of quick layups and shots from the perimeter. Unruh had three 3-pointers in that 17-0 spurt by the T-Birds.
Celina did not register its first points of the game until the 1:35 mark of the first quarter. Quinn Andrew (four points, five rebounds) finally got a shot to fall for the Bulldogs to make it 17-2.
Celina ended the initial quarter, just 1 of 9 shooting from the field. LCC was 8 of 13 from the floor in the first eight minutes.
Unruh led the T-Birds with nine first-quarter points, while Hines had six markers.
“I thought, tonight, we started off with getting the ball inside,” Kill said. “That’s what we’ve talked about – getting the early layups, the early post positions. I thought, defensively, we did a great job on their big man (Josh Rasawehr, six points). He’s a horse down there. I thought, defensively, that’s where our mojo came from, because we feast on turnovers. We feast on rebounds; and when we get rebounds, we get layups.”
The T-Birds kept pushing the tempo. By the halftime break, LCC ‘s lead ballooned to 29, 44-15.
Rossy Moore scored 10 second-quarter points for the T-Birds on 5 of 5 shooting from the floor.
LCC shot a sizzling 68 percent from the floor (19 of 28) in the first 16 minutes of action. Unruh led the T-Birds with 14 first-half points on 5 of 8 shooting. Hines and Rossy Moore each had 10.
Celina shot 25 percent from the floor in the first half, on 5 of 20 shooting.
LCC pushed its lead to 39, 60-21, by the end of the third quarter. Celina continued to struggle at the offensive end, connecting on just 2 of 10 shots from the field.
Kill felt that Unruh’s early 3-pointers made things come a little easier for his team at the offensive end.
“It takes a lot of pressure off when Evan comes out and knocks down a three. … Then he knocks down another three,” Kill said. “The guys’ shooting comes a little easier. That comes from confidence; and that’s why Evan Unruh is one of our biggest scorers. He’s finally getting back from an ankle injury. Moving forward, I think we’re moving in the right direction.”
For the game, LCC shot 54 percent from the field. Celina countered with 33-percent shooting.
Celina committed 15 turnovers on the night. LCC turned it over just three times.
LCC held the edge on the boards, 33-28.
“It was a great night. We had good energy,” Kill said. “But I think our defensive comradery was where it started. We were working together and communicating. That’s what you want right now at game 20, and moving into the tournament.”
Reach The Lima News sports department at 567-242-0451.