DELPHOS — Lima Central Catholic appears to be finding its basketball legs.
The Thunderbirds, who began late due to the football team’s success and with just 11 practices and two games under their belts, came up big in the fourth quarter to record a 73-64 win against Delphos St. John’s in the annual Holy War Sunday.
With the win, the T-Birds, who were coming off 53-35 Friday loss to Kalida, improve to 2-1 overall and the Blue Jays slip to 4-2 on the season.
“I think Christmas came early tonight,” LCC head coach Frank Kill said. “Coming into this game we said it is going to take four quarters to win this game and I thought we played four strong quarters. … We put this together in 24 hours. We have had 11 practices in two weeks to get ready for three games and this is a group that is coming together, and it is going to take some time but this is a step in the right direction after Friday night’s disaster.
“It is going to take guys to come together, play together, forget about the past and focus at the task at hand and finding that chemistry and finding that rotation.”
This rivalry seems to produce close contests and this one was no different as both teams battled back and forth for the first three quarters with neither squad owning a lead larger than seven points going into the fourth quarter, LCC held a 49-45 lead.
The Blue Jays inched to within one, 54-53, when Landen Grothaus popped a trey with 5:45 left in the game. However, LCC responded with a quick 7-0 run that saw big 3-pointers from Billy Bourk and David Foster to give the T-Birds a 61-53 advantage with 3:27 remaining on the clock.
Even though the run was small, Delphos never recovered and LCC held on for the win.
“i think we got it to a seven-point lead in the second quarter and we just were never able to string enough stops together,” Blue Jays head coach Aaron Elwer said. “You tell me we score 60-plus and that is plenty but we have to be better defensively and that starts from the moment they get the ball and that wasn’t the case tonight. We just did not contest enough shots and credit to them for hitting the shots and solid teams are going to do that and we did not have the sense of urgency defensively.”
Carson Parker led the LCC with 22 points and eight rebounds, and Bourk had a double-double night with 13 points and 11 rebounds. Between Parker and Bourk the T-Birds presented a well-balanced approach of an inside-outside offense that proved instrumental in the win.
Kill also pointed out his unsung heroes of the game, Matthew Quatman and Parker Judy for coming up with a huge defensive effort and providing some big shots throughout the game that were a key component in the T-Birds’ keeping the Blue Jays from making a serious scoring run.
Judy had 11 points on the night with three 3-pointers, most coming at key points in the game including a late one in the third period that broke a 41-41 tie and an early fourth quarter one that gave LCC a 54-50 advantage. He also had his minutes covering freshman sensation Cameron Elwer.
Quatman finished with eight points and had a big 3-pointer but his value was more on the defensive end where he helped keep Elwer to a tough 16 points. Between Quatman and Judy, Elwer, who came into the game averaging 26 points a contest, continually had to work hard to score points.
“I think Matthew Quatman holding Cameron Elwer to 16 points is a feat in itself because Cameron is one of the best players in this area and it was a total team effort,” Kill said. “I am going to say Parker Judy was the unsung hero. He hit some of the biggest threes to give us momentum and confidence and Parker stepped up when Matthew needed a break with Elwer. Parker is not going to fill the stat sheets but he is going to do what we ask him to do. Whether it is to play defense or hit the open shot, and he did it tonight.
“I think Matthew Quatman gets the game ball because his tenaciousness to guard Elwer and get the ball inside to Billy and Carson. I think we did a really good job of getting the ball inside. Our first four possessions were paint possessions and that is a formula for success.”
Grothaus was the most consistent Blue jay offensively as he pumped in 21 points. Jack Gerker nailed a trio of treys for nine points.
Reach Jose Nogueras at 567-242-0468.