HARROD – The Lima Central Catholic girls’ basketball was attempting to go where no other Thunderbird girls’ team had ever gone before.
The T-Birds won their school record fifth straight game to open the season when they traveled to Allen East and knocked off the Mustangs by a 56-44 margin.
LCC (5-0) hit four three-point shots in the opening quarter to grab a 20-16 lead thanks to treys by Sydney Santaguida, Meredith Shepherd, and two off the bench by Liz Kidd.
But Allen-East (2-3) managed to stay close to the LCC squad when the T-Birds cooled off in the second quarter and managed only 2-of-12 on three-point attempts.
LCC took a 30-23 lead to the half thanks to a late three by Kayla Verhoff.
The T-Birds then opened the third period with back-to-back threes by Shepherd and Verhoff followed by a two-point bucket by Kidd and suddenly LCC was up 15 points at 38-23.
LCC converted 9-of-15 from the free throw line over the final two quarters to hold on for the record-setting victory.
The Mustangs struggled shooting the ball as they connected on just 33 percent from the field and only 45 percent (9-of-20) from the free throw line.
“We just had a bad night at the free throw line,” Allen East coach Jarrod Wehri said. “They (LCC) have a nice team with a lot of potential, but we were just a few plays away from making it a real game. We have great kids that work hard; we are close if we can clean up a few things.”
The Mustangs were led in scoring by senior Kaycee Rowe with 15 points while Carly Clum added 11 and Erin Conkle chipped in with for Allen East.
LCC connected on 19-of-52 from the field for 36 percent and 9-of-17 from the charity stripe for 52 percent in the game.
Shepherd LCC with a game-high 20 points that included three 3-pointers and 5-of-6 free throw shooting down the stretch to help hold the Mustangs at bay. Kidd also connected on three treys on her way to an 11 point game.
“We hit shots at the right time; we had a bad shooting game but were able to win by double digits against a good Allen East team.” LCC coach Katie Krieg said. “Shepherd has matured so much as a basketball player, how she handles traps, avoids turnovers, and makes free throws.
It’s the best start in LCC history but we play Bluffton next Thursday and Lima Senior next Saturday and that will be a real test.”
Allen East pulled down 39 rebounds in the contest while LCC had 30. The Mustangs committed 17 turnovers to 13 by the T-Birds.