The Van Wert County Courthouse

Saturday, Jan. 29, 2022

Cougars pull off upset of Lima CC 61-57

SCOTT TRUXELL/independent sports editor

Van Wert head coach Ben Laudick believes it’s the biggest victory for his young team so far this season.

The Cougars, now 4-9, picked up their second win of the weekend and third straight overall by beating Lima Central Catholic 61-57 on Saturday. The Thunderbirds (9-7) had won five of their last six games and had knocked off powerhouse Ottawa-Glandorf earlier in the season.

Sophomore point guard Garett Gunter scored 12 points during Saturday’s 61-57 upset win over Lima Central Catholic. Bob Barnes/file photo

“All of our wins are big ones but I would say this is our biggest win of the season,” Laudick said. “Our guys are excited for what’s to come next week and we’re excited about how we’re trending but there is still some work for us to do to get better and to do things we want to do toward the end of the season.”

The Cougars found themselves trailing 16-13 after the first quarter and 31-22 at halftime after the Thunderbirds scored the final seven points of the second quarter, but the game took a notable swing early in the third quarter. Van Wert opened the period with nine unanswered points, five by sophomore Adian Pratt and four by classmate Garett Gunter, who went on to finish with 12 points.

From there the two teams went back and forth until senior Owen Treece gave Van Wert the lead for good, 45-42, with a deep triple from the left wing with 30 seconds left. Treece finished with 18 points and Pratt put in 12 of his season high 15 points in the quarter.

“We challenged them at halftime and what we said to them was if we want to do good things at the end of the year, we have to rise to the occasion right now against a good basketball team,” Laudick explained. “We did not finish the first half the way we wanted to and our guys responded to the challenge.”

“Aidan’s coming along and his stock is going up right now,” the coach continued. “We told him he has to be a force inside – if you’re a force on the inside it’s going to open things on the outside a little bit and he did a really good job of using his length and size to get good looks inside.”

“Guys like Ethan Brown, Aidan Pratt and Garett Gunter are coming along. There were some growing paints to start with but we’re coming along and we’re starting to get other people to score and it’s obviously helping us out on offense.”

Van Wert extended the lead to 51-42 by opening the fourth quarter with a 6-0 run on a bucket by Treece, an uncontested layup by Brown and a shot by Gunter. Lima Central Catholic pulled to within four, 59-55 with under a minute left, but a pair of free throws by Nate Jackson helped secure the win.

Lima Central Catholic had three players finish in double figures. MeShaud Moore came off the bench to score 14, Brian Hines added 12 and Rossy Moore scored 10, including eight in the second half. The Thunderbirds lost the services of starting guard Evan Unruh, who left the game in the first half with an injury.

Van Wert is scheduled to host Delphos St. John’s on Tuesday night before playing the final two road games of the regular season – at Elida on Friday and at St. Henry on Saturday.

Scoring summary

Van Wert 13 9 23 16 – 61
Lima CC 16 15 11 15 – 57

Van Wert: Ethan Brown 4-0-8; Owen Treece 7-2-18; Garett Gunter 6-0-12; Ty Jackson 2-0-4; Aidan Pratt 6-2-15; Nate Jackson 1-2-4

Lima Central Catholic: DeMarr Foster 1-2-5; Rossy Moore 4-2-10; Nate Stolly 1-0-2; Evan Unruh 1-0-3; Carson Parker 2-0-5; Brian Hines 5-2-12; Meshaud Moore 6-2-14; Billy Bourk 3-0-6

JV: Lima Central Catholic 49-45

POSTED: 01/31/21 at 10:01 pm. FILED UNDER: Sports