LIMA — There a few things coaches value more than experience since those players have already gone through the growing pains associated with getting playing time for the first time.
Kenton had more experience than Lima Central Catholic as they started three seniors and two juniors compared to the Thunderbirds opening line-up of three seniors, a sophomore and a freshman.
The Wildcats used some good shooting and solid defense to beat the T-Birds by a 54-35 margin in the season opener for both squads Saturday night at Msgr. Herr Gymnasium.
Kenton jumped out to an 11-10 lead after one period of play before the T-Birds tied it up at 11 by Kenton expanded their lead to 23-18 going to the halftime break. Kor Barrett connected on all three 3-point shot she took in the first half which was good for nine points while LCC all-time leading scorer Madison Stolly added to her total with a nine-point half.
LCC was able to hang around and trailed only 32-28 late in the third quarter before Barrett drilled another 3-pointer to give the Wildcats a 35-28 lead going to the fourth quarter.
Kenton would go on to outscore LCC 19-7 in the final period to account for the final margin in the contest. Kenton connected on 10-of-17 from the free throw line in the final quarter.
The Wildcats were led by Barrett, who tied a school record with six treys, on her way to a game-high 19 point effort. She was tied by Stolly of LCC who also scored 19 points but the difference was in the supporting cast.
Kenton had eight players break into the scoring column while the T-Birds only had five players make it into the scorebook. Barrett and Stolly were the only two players to score in the double digits in the contest.
“It feels good, ” Barrett, a 5-foot-5 junior, said of her hot shooting. “The confidence builds as each one goes in.”
Kenton coach Ryan Miller was just glad to get a win to open the season.
“It is just a matter of getting back into the flow of the game. It was ugly but we are 1-0,” Miller said. “Barrett stepped up and hit some big three-point shots plus she guarded Stolly. She (Barrett) spent the time in the gym working on her shooting.”
LCC Katie Krieg saw some bright spots despite the loss.
“I was happy with our defense. Barrett was just on tonight, ” Krieg said. “We need to find points from someone other than Madison (Stolly). We are young but we will get there.”
The T-Birds won the battle of the boards by a 28-21 margin but committed 15 turnovers to 11 for the Wildcats.
Kenton shot 44 percent from the field as they connected on 15-of-34 fro the floor, including 8-of-19 from behind the arc. LCC, meanwhile, struggled to a 33 percent shooting night as they made 12-of-36 from the field.
The Wildcats made 16-of-26 from the free throw line compared to 10-of-20 y the T-Birds.
The Lima News sports department can be rached at 567-242-0468.