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June 1, 2020

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Lady Pirates nipped by T-Birds

Bluffton face a nine-day layoff before tournament play starts

By Cort Reynolds
LIMA - Visiting Bluffton lost a 43-42 barnburner to Lima Central Catholic in a non-conference girls basketball contest Thursday night to end the regular season.

The close loss ended the Lady Pirate regular season record at 14-8 overall, while LCC improved to 12-9 with the win.

The game between the Allen County rivals was close all the way. LCC led 11-10 after a tight first period.

Late in the second stanza, Pirate senior guard Kayla White drove through traffic down the right baseline for a short banker to give the Pirates a 17-13 lead. Bluffton went on to hold a close 19-18 advantage at intermission.

The Pirates maintained that one-point margin heading to the final period with a 28-27 edge.

But the Lady Thunderbirds pulled out the one-point win with a 16-14 fourth quarter. LCC freshman Olivia Stolly poured in 13 points over the last eight minutes to power the Thunderbirds to victory.

Bluffton missed nine costly free throws in the second half.

Senior post Libby Schaadt led the Pirates with 16 points on eight field goals. Bluffton sophomore Kylie Monday contributed 11 markers. 

LCC was paced by Stolly with a game-high 21 points. Senior post Rosie Williams, the school's all-time rebounds leader, contributed a dozen points.

The Bluffton girls canned 17 baskets, including 15 two-pointers and two goals from three-point range. The Pirate girls converted just six of 16 from the charity stripe (38 percent).

LCC sank 15 field goals, including 10 of the two-point variety. The T-Birds drained five triples and converted all eight of their shots from the foul line (100 percent). 

Bluffton committed just six turnovers, and LCC turned the ball over eight times. 

The Lady Pirates finished tied for third in the Northwest Conference with Paulding and Crestview at 5-3. Columbus Grove (8-0) won the crown, with Spencerville second (6-2).

The Pirates ended up 5-5 on the road.

LCC 43 (12-9)
Young 0, Santaguida 1 0-0 3, Stolly 7 4-4 21, E. Mulcahy 1 2-2 5, Williams 5 2-2 12, M. Mulcahy 1 0-0 2.
Totals: 15/8-8/43. 3-pointers: Stolly 3, Santaguida 1, E. Mulcahy 1.

Bluffton 42 (14-8)
Bischoff 1 0-0 2, B. Garmatter 1 0-0 3, L. Garmatter 0 2-2 2, White 2 0-0 4, Stackhouse 2 0-1 4, Monday 3 4-6 11, Bricker 0, Schaadt 8 0-7 16.  
Totals: 17/6-16/42. 3-pointers: Monday 1, B. Garmatter 1.
    1    2    3    4    F
LCC    11    7    9    16    43
Bluf    10    9    9    14    42

After losing two tough road games this week to close the regular season, the fifth-seeded Lady Pirates face a nine-day layoff before tournament play starts. 

Bluffton received a first round tournament bye, so they next play in sectional finals action on Saturday, February 22. They will meet either Arlington (15-5) or Cory-Rawson (7-13) on the campus of Bluffton University at 6:15 p.m. 

Arlington was seeded second in the 14-team sectional, while C-R was 11th. The Lady Hornets upset Bluffton 37-30 in the season opener, while the Pirate girls and Red Devils did not meet.

The winner advances to the district semifinals Feb. 25 at Ottawa-Glandorf, likely to be against third seed Kalida. NWC champion Columbus Grove (18-3) was seeded first.