How good is Lima Central Catholic? Ask Findlay Liberty-Benton. Fresh off a victory over the previously undefeated Eagles, the Tunderbirds enter the D-III Elida District final riding a 15-game winning streak. After avenging an early season loss to L-B, LCC gets another shot at revenge against Ottawa-Glandorf on Saturday.
If you are going to Las Vegas anytime soon you may want to consider taking Lima Central Catholic head boy’s basketball coach Bob Seggerson. Why would you want to take a D-III high school basketball coach from Northwest Ohio, you may ask. First off, the guy has 513 career victories but that isn’t the real reason.
Maybe this will help. Here is a quote from Coach Seggerson from our preseason preview where we had the Thunderbirds ranked No. 4 in D-III.
“We will start slow because our football team will make the playoffs for the fourth time in five years, and as always we have a lot of basketball players on the football team. We have committed to play in the Elida Tip Off Classic so we will not be moving our schedule back. The schedule is brutal in December, but as this team gets its skills together they will be very good.”
Wow! This guy was right on the money. Lima CC made the football playoffs and advanced to the 2nd round before losing to Defiance Tinora (21-14). Then, about the slow start, the Thunderbirds started the year 3-4 losing both games in the Tip Off Classic to Elida and Lima Shawnee and then fell to Ottawa-Glandorf in OT and finally to Findlay Liberty-Benton (66-53).
How about the part concerning being very good? 15-straight victories most likely fits the bill, but maybe you need more. After the sluggish start, the T-Birds ran off 13 consecutive wins in the regular season but getting out of the Elida District would be nearly impossible with the likes of Liberty-Benton, Ottawa-Glandorf, St. Henry, Coldwater, and Delphos Jefferson.
Last night, LCC met Liberty-Benton, ironically the last team to beat them. The T-Birds disposed of St. Henry in its first tourney game, 61-46. That was one thing, but the Eagles were unbeaten and have one of the best players in Ohio regarding Ohio State signee Aaron Craft.
In another strange twist, about a month ago, we wanted to get the humble opinion of Seggerson on who he thought were the two best teams in the Elida District. Being credible and honest at the same time, Seggerson believed Liberty-Benton and Coldwater were the teams to beat.
“I guess my prediction of LB and Coldwater in the final was off the mark,” Seggerson said jokingly after his team knocked off highly-regarded Liberty-Benton last night. “That’s the most interesting aspect of tournament play. It’s all about who is hot and when.”
Seggerson’s T-Birds (18-4) hounded Craft all night, according to all accounts, barely giving him room to breathe. The future Buckeye finished with 17 points on just 5-of-22 shooting including seven turnovers.
“LCC played great defense all night, Seggerson mentioned. “Desi Kirkman, our point guard, had a big time game. He had 19 points, 5 assists, 8 rebounds most importantly guarded Craft most of night.”
According to Seggerson, his team jumped out to a fast start and then faded a bit before ending strong for the 52-39 triumph.
“LCC got off to quick start and led 10-2 at the end of first quarter, but the game tightened after that,” the legendary coach proclaimed. We were up three at half time and Liberty-Benton took the lead late in the third. From that point on we pretty much dominated. Sam Stolly hit two big threes late in third that forced L-B out of its zone and our guards controlled the four quarter.”
Not only did they hold Craft down, but also sharp-shooter Jordan Benson was kept at bay shooting just 2-of-10 from the field. The Eagles were just 13-of-46 as a team.
So one down, and now another major test remains with Ottawa-Glandorf standing in LCC’s way of a trip to the regional. If there is any team that is as hot as LCC it would be O-G (18-4), who won its 10-straight last night with a 56-55 win over Delphos Jefferson. Josh Johnson led the Titans with 21 points.
“Both teams have stepped up their games to a different level in the last couple of weeks,” Seggerson said. “The game on Saturday will be a real battle. They have even more depth than we do and are a strong rebounding team. They beat us in December at home on a last second three-point shot.”
O-G has not lost since falling to Elida (78-72) on January 29, while LCC hasn’y succumbed to defeat since December 29 against L-B. With both teams playing extremely well then what will be the difference?
“If you’re looking for a key stat for Saturday follow the rebounding that will probably tell the tale,” stated the LCC boss. “It could be a battle of attrition because both teams really get after it.”
LCC mopped up L-B on the glass, which was key so it most likely will be the deciding factor on Saturday other than most importantly who has more points.
Tipoff is at 1 p.m. at Elida this Saturday, but if you want a seat get there early. Don’t believe us. Then believe Seggerson, he has been right on point thus far.
“I would pay to see this game,” Seggerson declared.