Girls basketball: LCC holds off Fort Jennings

LIMA – Fort Jennings made a run to open the second half.

However, Lima Central Catholic responded with a couple runs of its own, en route to a hard-fought 43-40 victory over Fort Jennings in a girls basketball game Tuesday at Msgr. Edward C. Herr Gymnasium.

Kiegh Macklin led Lima Central Catholic (2-1) with 16 points, 13 rebounds, three steals and two assists. Olivia Stolly had 10 points and five steals. Emily Morrisey added seven points and seven boards for the Thunderbirds.

After Tuesday’s contest, Stolly needs 22 points to join the career 1,000-point club.

Maggie Pothast led Fort Jennings (1-2) with 18 points and eight rebounds. Rachel Von Sossan scored 11 points. Reagan Ricker added eight points and four boards for the Musketeers.

LCC slipped into the halftime break with a 20-16 lead.

Fort Jennings came out of the locker room and promptly went on a 9-2 run to slip out to a 25-22 lead in the third quarter.

That’s when the T-Birds picked it up another notch at the defensive end.

The result was eight third-quarter turnovers committed by Fort Jennings, which helped LCC climb right back into it.

“We talked about the fact that we were so smart to be able to play defense without fouling in the first half,” LCC head coach Eric Kuhlman said. “So, it allowed us in the second half to be able to pick them up with full-court pressure, and change it up on them.

“We wanted to make sure we did that right after halftime, so they wouldn’t have a chance to adjust. … They would have to use their timeouts to adjust. It worked out for us; and I’m super proud of them.”

At the end of the third quarter, Fort Jennings was clinging to a 30-28 lead.

In the fourth stanza, LCC shot 5 of 6 from the free throw line, while Fort Jennings was just 1 of 3 from the charity stripe.

“They (Fort Jennings) were doing a really good job of not allowing us to run a fastbreak,” Kuhlman said. “We want to be a fastbreak team. But they were sending three back (on defense) right away. We really wanted to pick them apart.”

Maggie Pothast gave the T-Birds fits in the paint, as she scored nine points in the first half. Then, down the stretch, Pothast scored seven in the fourth quarter.

“We tried to front her,” Kuhlman said about his team’s defensive effort on Pothast. “I thought our guards got better of coming down and helping out. But she did make some tough shots. She’s a good player.”

Kuhlman said it was a total team effort Tuesday night. He knew Fort Jennings wanted to slow Stolly down at the offensive end.

“Our plan was that we were going to run through Macklin, tonight. … Then we would have Stolly make plays off it. Morrisey made some jump shots. We got some really good minutes from Anna Wannemacher (five points, one steal). We preach all the time that it’s a team effort. The person who steps up that day is going to change the game,” Kuhlman said.

For the game, LCC shot 33 percent from the field. Fort Jennings connected on 40-percent of its field-goal attempts.

Fort Jennings committed 17 turnovers, while LCC turned it over 14 times on the night.

LCC won the battle on the boards, 34-26.

“I’m so proud of them for scrapping deep,” Kuhlman said. “We came back (second half) and made a run, but not because of offense. … It always starts with defense.”

Mark Altstaetter wrote this story for The Lima News. Reach The Lima News sports department at 567-242-0451.