The Van Wert County Courthouse

Tuesday, Jan. 25, 2022

Place, Kelly lead Cougar boys over LCC

SCOTT TRUXELL/independent sports

A strong third quarter allowed the Van Wert Cougars to pull away from the Lima Central Catholic Thunderbirds on the way to Friday night’s 66-45 win at The Cougars’ Den.

Van Wert improved to 4-3 with the victory, while Frank Kill’s defending Division III state champion Thunderbirds fell to 2-7.

Van Wert's Jacoby Kelly (5) drives for a layup against LCC on Friday in a game the Cougars won 66-45. Bob Barnes/Van Wert independent
Van Wert’s Jacoby Kelly (5) drives for a layup against LCC on Friday in a game the Cougars won 66-45. Bob Barnes/Van Wert independent

Already leading 30-24 at halftime, the Cougars outscored Lima Central Catholic 22-7, including a 14-2 scoring spurt during the first five minutes of the third period.

Jacoby Kelly, Nate Place, and Dylan Lautzenheiser accounted for 17 of the 22 points, and the Cougars led 52-31 after three quarters.

Each team scored 14 points in the fourth quarter.

Along the way, the Cougars held Lima Central Catholic’s two leading scorers to a total of 16 points. Coming into the game, 6-4 Thomas Williams and 6-8 Mark Janowski averaged 26 points per game. Williams was held to four points through three quarters, while Janowski was unable to score in the second half.

“We showed a lot of resiliency, because Tuesday night’s game (a loss to Delphos St. John’s) was a tough, physical game,” Van Wert head coach Mark Bagley said. “We moved the ball tonight, we had more jump shots and they were off one more pass, and that’s a huge thing.”

The Cougars found themselves down 9-4 midway through the first quarter, but Place drilled two three-pointers, Drew Bagley had a layup, and Kelly hit a basket and a three for a 17-14 lead.

Van Wert scored seven of the first 10 points of the second quarter to go up 24-17. Bagley and Place hit late buckets to push the halftime lead to six.

Place was the game’s leading scorer with 25 points, including six three-point baskets, while Kelly finished with 18 points as the only other Cougar in double figures. Brayden O’Dell and Williams each had 10 points to lead the T-Birds.

“Obviously, Nate and Jacoby are our leading scorers, but we had other guys who pitched in as well,” Bagley said. “Between Dylan and Drew and some other guys, they added to that score as well.”

“It was just a great way to finish 2016,” Bagley added.

Van Wert was 22 of 43 from field goal range (51.2 percent), but even more deadly from behind the arc, making 9 of 15 three-point attempts (60 percent). The Cougars were less than stellar at the free-throw line, where they knocked down just 13 of 21 attempts (61.9 percent). LCC was 16 of 46 from the field (held to 34.8 percent shooting from the field (16 of 46), but was 6 of 13 from three-point range (46.2 percent). The T-Birds made 7 of 11 free-throw attempts (63.6 percent).

Van Wert also won the junior varsity game, 53-47. The Cougar JVs had three players in double figures, led by Joey Schaufelberger’s 19 points. Tanner Barnhart added 12 points, while Clayton Proffitt scored 11 for the Cougs.

Van Wert will begin 2017 with a tough doubleheader weekend. The Cougars will host Western Buckeye League opponent Ottawa-Glandorf Friday night, then entertain Crestview in a makeup game at the S.F. Goedde Building on Saturday night.

Both games will air on WERT 1220 AM/104.3 FM, and will stream live on The Van Wert Independent (

Box score

Van Wert  17  13  22  14–-66

Lima CC   14  10    7   14–-45

Rebounds: Lima Central Catholic 32, Van Wert 28

Turnovers: Lima Central Catholic 20, Van Wert 16

Van Wert: Jacoby Kelly 18, Nate Place 25, Nick Gutierrez 11, Dylan Lautzenheiser 6, Drew Bagley 8, Blake Henry 3, Joey Schaufelberger 2. Totals: 22 13-21 66.

Lima Central Catholic: Biggz Johnson 4, Raoul Samaroo 3, Thomas Williams 10, Mark Janowski 6, Brendan Stolly 1, Stephen Taflinger 6, Brayden O’Dell 10, Jaron Banks 5. Totals: 16 7-11 45.

JV game: Van Wert won 44-37.

POSTED: 12/31/16 at 8:17 am. FILED UNDER: Sports