ELIDA — Elida’s Dakota Mathias carved his spot in Bulldogs’ history.
But he wasn’t thinking about breaking the school’s career scoring record, which he did in the first quarter.
Mathias was focused on doing everything in his power to beat Lima Central Catholic.
Mathias tossed in 42 points, including hitting the winning free throw with less than a second left, to give Elida a 70-69 victory over LCC on Saturday before 2,500 frenzied fans at the Elida Fieldhouse.
“This game meant everything,” Mathias said. “They beat us in the Tip-Off, and they let us know about the whole year. It was great to get a win.”
With the game tied at 69, LCC turned it over with 3.7 seconds to go.
Austin Allemeier inbounded the ball for Elida under the LCC basket.
Allemeier fired it to Marquevious Wilson, who looped a perfect pass to Mathias at the Elida foul line. As Mathias grabbed it, he was fouled by at least one LCC player.
Mathias went to the line with 0.1 of a second on the clock. He missed the first free throw, but knocked down the second to win it, 70-69.
“They threw it to Marquevious and sent me deep,” Mathias said. “It was a pretty good pass from Marquevious, and they had two guys holding me, they fouled and I made the free throw.”
LCC then fired the ball down to Dantez Walton, 12-feet away, but the horn sounded as he caught it.
Elida stands 15-3, while LCC is 14-3.
“We were all lucky to watch Dakota Mathias in a game like that,” Kill said. “We have no answer for him and that’s why he is who he is, he’s going to be a Division I Boilermaker.”
It was quite a night for Mathias, who entered the game needing 13 points to break Reggie McAdams’ Elida career scoring record of 1,720 points.
Mathias’ hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key with 1:19 left in the first quarter to set the record. At the next dead ball, with 39 seconds left in the first quarter, the game was stopped and Elida coach Denny Thompson presented Mathias with the record-setting ball.
“I really was not thinking about that (the record) at all,” Mathias said. “I wanted to win this game so bad. In my career they’ve beat us a lot and I wanted to get a win.”
Mathias hit 13 of 23 from the field and was 4 of 9 on 3-pointers. He also hit 12 of 15 at the foul line for his 42 points. He also had seven rebounds, four assists and two steals.
LCC ran a number of different players at Mathias, including Trey Cobbs, Ethan O’Connor and Martyce Kimbrough. All came right at him, but Mathias used a number of moves, including jab-step, step-back jumpers to score from all corners of the floor. He scored all his team’s 16 points in the final quarter.
“They threw three or four different guys to come in and foul a little bit and try to rough me up,” Mathias said. “I just kind of handled it and we won the game. The better team won the game tonight.”
The game had plenty of back-and-forth and full-tempo offense to keep the Fieldhouse rocking.
“It was a great high school basketball game and it was a great learning experience for everybody that participated in that game,” Thompson said. “I’m thrilled to death with the win. That was an awful good team we just beat.”
At the LCC end, sophomore Xavier Simpson hit 11 of 18 from the field for 31 points. Kimbrough had 16 points. Both Simpson and Kimbrough both had four 3-pointers. Walton had 12 points and nine rebounds.
Elida led 38-32 at the half.
Simpson then scored nine points in the third quarter, including two 3-pointers, and Elida’s lead was down to 54-53 after three quarters.
In the final quarter, Mathias hit 4 of 5 from the field with one 3-pointer and was 7 of 8 at the line.
But at the other end, Simpson was hitting his jumpers and floaters, while Kimbrough hit two 3-pointers.
The game was tied at 69 with 1:19 left when LCC elected to play for the final shot. With the clock down around 12 seconds, Simpson gave the ball to Cobbs, who drove the left baseline, but was ruled to have stepped out of bounds.
“They took the ball out of Xavier’s hands and they didn’t let him get it back,” Kill said.
That set up Elida’s final play.
“People got their money’s worth,” Kill said.