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LCC rolls into regionals

Thunderbirds defeat Bearcats for spot in D-III Sweet 16

By Tom Usher – tusher@civitasmedia.com

Lima Central Catholic’s Ethan O’Connor goes up for a shot against Spencerville’s Mason Nourse during Saturday’sDivision III district final at Lima Senior High School. 

Lima Central Catholic’s Josh Dixon goes up for a shot against Spencerville’s Dakota Prichard during Saturday’s Division III district final at Lima Senior High School.

Spencerville’s Jacob Meyer puts up a shot against Lima Central Catholic Thomas Williams
LIMA — It’s tough to stand in the way of a major hurricane.

And when Lima Central Catholic plays on this level, it simply blows teams out the side door like a 90 mph wind.

LCC rolled to a 65-38 victory over Spencerville to win the Division III boys district championship Saturday at Lima Senior.

Dantez Walton led the T-Birds with 19 points, eight rebounds and two blocks. He also had three 3-pointers. Josh Dixon added 15 points and two 3-pointers. Tre Cobbs had 14 points and two 3-pointers. Thomas Williams added seven points and six rebounds off the bench.

“Tonight I thought our patience and our ability to hit the open guy who were wide open were very beneficial,” LCC coach Frank Kill said. “It’s one of the most unselfish teams I’ve had. … And I thought our defensive rotation was amazing because of our team chemistry.”

LCC (24-1), ranked No. 1 in the state in Division III, advances to the regional semifinals against the Milan Edison (23-2) at 6:15 p.m., Wednesday, at Bowling Green State University. Spencerville ends its year 18-5.

Zach Goecke led the Bearcats with 10 points.

It was a complete game by the T-Birds.

They continually were unselfish on the offensive end in working for open shots.

And at the defensive end, LCC’s man smothered Spencerville and made it difficult for the Bearcats to get a good shot, in spite of circling the ball around the horn several times. It seemed like the harder the Bearcats worked for a clean shot, the more tangled up they became in the LCC defensive web.

“I was a little tired out there, but it was mental toughness (on defense),” Dixon said.

Spencerville coach Kevin Sensabaugh had nothing but praise for LCC.

“I’m not sure if we had played the best defense we’ve ever played we would have still won, because we couldn’t score,” Sensabaugh said. “They were so good, defensively, and they covered so much ground, defensively. They are as good, defensively, as they are offensively. I’m not sure there’s a whole lot we could have done. They’re just better.

“I don’t see anyone being able to score against them with consistency. They’re really good, defensively, and they can score. They are extremely talented and they don’t have a lot of weaknesses. They offensive rebound well, they shoot the ball well, they handle the ball well and they defend well.”

Spencerville played all man-to-man in its 84-66 loss to LCC on Feb. 19. This time around the Bearcats played plenty of zone early.

“We knew the Spencerville coach had a trick up his sleeve, so we tried to prepare for it in practice and I’m glad we did,” Walton said.

Cobbs said, “I’ve been confident in my shot the last couple of games and I wanted to keep it going and got lucky and that’s what I did. To get those good looks against the zone, you have to drive first and bring someone with you. People came with us and we got open shots.”

LCC ripped that zone apart, bouncing out to a 15-2 lead. Dixon hit two 3-pointers early and Cobbs hit one.

“I thought that took a little of air out of them,” Dixon said.

It was more of the same in the second quarter, as LCC used an 11-0 run to bounce out to a 31-11 lead. In that run, Dixon hit a 3-pointer and a fast-break layup, while Cobbs hit a 3-pointer and driving layup.

LCC took a 34-15 lead into halftime and the game was never in doubt in the second half.

LCC won the boards, 21-19. LCC shot 52 percent from the field and was 8 of 21 on 3-pointers. Spencerville shot 41 percent and was 2 of 13 on 3-pointers.

“It feels great, but we’re not done yet,” Cobbs said.

Reach Tom Usher at tusher@civitasmedia.com or on Twitter at @Lima_Usher

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