LIMA – Lima Central Catholic boys’ basketball coach Frank Kill proved that he knows his team and their attitude quite well.
“I like the 12 days of Christmas,” Kill said before his team took the floor against visiting Ottawa-Glandorf Sunday at Msgr. E. C. Herr Gymnasium. “I hated the 14 days of boredom. We are ready to play.”
LCC, who hadn’t played a game since the championship game of the Tip-Off Classic on Nov. 30, ran away from the Titans and notched a 64-44 victory.
The Thunderbirds (3-0) proved their coach knew them well as they exploded out of the gate against the Titans (2-2) and never looked back.
O-G grabbed a quick 5-3 lead before the T-Birds ripped off a 12-0 run to take a 15-5 lead and they never let up as they shot and defended their way to the win.
LCC, behind nine points from Xavier Simpson and six from Martyce Kimbrough, grabbed a 19-10 lead after one period of play.
The T-Birds forced O-G out of their man-to-man defense and into a box and one in an effort to contain Kimbrough. But LCC continued to expand the lead as they outscored the Titans 18-8 in the second quarter to take a 37-18 lead to the half-time break.
Noah Bramlage, O-G’s 6-foot-7 junior, scored 14 of the 18 Titan points in the first half.
“It was our first home game of the year and against O-G so we were ready to play after 14 days off,” Simpson said. “We knew Bramlage was the key to their team so we tried to shut down the rest of the team.”
The second half was much more even as they two teams fought to a 15-15 third quarter before the T-Birds outscored the Titans 12-11 in the final quarter.
LCC was led in scoring by Simpson with a game-high 20 points while Kimbrough was close behind with 18 points. The T-Birds had nine players break into the scoring column and got nice efforts from inside players Dantez Walton (8 points) and Corey Stewart (7 points, 7 rebounds).
“Xavier came out like he was shot out of a cannon. He was ready,” Kill said. “We started both halves with great intensity and I thought we did a great team job of protecting the paint.”
Bramlage finished with 19 hard-earned points to pace the Titans while 6-2 Blake Blevins was next for O-G with 9 points.
“LCC’s quickness can’t be simulated and I thought we got a little shell shocked,” O-G coach Tyson McGlaughlin said. “Kimbrough hit a couple of big shots early and we were outplayed. They beat us but they are a good team. We will learn from this and we’ll get better. We were just overwhelmed.”
LCC pulled down 32 rebounds in the contest to only 23 for the Titans and the T-Birds forced 14 O-G turnovers while only committing 9 in the game.
“Bramlage is a great player but we made him work. Ethan O’Connor did a great job on him defensively.” Kill said. “Corey Stewart really stepped up his inside presence and gives us positive minutes off the bench.”