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Lima Central Catholic wins elusive state title; Coach Seggerson retires on top

Austin Stolly (L), Coach Bob Seggerson (M), Desi Kirkman (R) of Lima Central Catholic (megasportsnews.com)

Lima Central Catholic celebrates State title win (megasportsnews.com)

Columbus, Ohio–The Lima Central Catholic Thunderbirds basketball team finally gave long-time head coach Bob Seggerson a state championship over the weekend.

The Thunderbirds hung on for a 60-57 win over Orrville in the boys Division III Championship game at the Jerome Schottenstein Center before a crowd of 14,008.

Just as everybody was about to leave the press conference, Coach Seggerson said, “I just have one more thing to say. I’m walking out on top, guys.” This was the Thunderbirds fifth attempt at a State title and it made all of those past disappointments worthwhile for Seggerson and his program.

Bob Seggerson closes out a stellar career with a 517 wins, 209 losses in 32 seasons at Lima Central Catholic.

At the beginning of the game, it appeared that Lima Central Catholic was going to have to wait another year for a state title as they started out slow. Early in the first quarter, they were down 7-2 as Orrville started running and gunning and were able to get the shots they wanted while Lima Catholic couldn’t get a shot off without it being contested.

After the TV timeout at the 3:57 mark of the first quarter, the Thunderbirds seemed to be a different team as they made the necessary adjustments and got the ball to Austin Stolly who took control and scored on two free throws and a fast break layup to forge a 12-12 tie at the end of the first quarter.

The Lima Catholic momentum carried over into the second quarter as they began to take control of the game. Orrville tried a fullcourt press, but LCC guards Desi Kirkman and Austin Stolly were about to beat it at will and able to score. Kirkman had 6 points in the second quarter and their defense was able to get Orrville to commit several turnovers, 7 to be exact and Lima Catholic took a 26-20 advantage into the locker room.

Lima Catholic was led at halftime by Austin Stolly scored 8 points followed by Desi Kirkman had 6 and Jon Steiger hauled down 6 rebounds. The Thunderbirds won the rebounding battle, 21-15 and they had 7 turnovers. The one glaring stat was Lima Catholic was 0-9 from 3-point land.

Orrville’s halftime stat sheet wasn’t any better. The only player scoring was First All-Ohioan Jacob Bolyard who led the way with 7 points. They committed 9 turnovers and were 2-of-8 from the 3-point line.

Desi Kirkman's play all season aided Lima Central Catholic in winning the state title (megasportsnews.com)

Orrville head coach Sly Slaughter led the school to the state title game in his first season. (megasportsnews.com)

The third quarter would belong to Lima Central Catholic as well as Desi Kirkman would take over and lead the way with  4 points.  Orrville at one point went on an 8-2 run to cut the deficit to 30-28 but the Thunderbirds closed the quarter with a 13-6 run to lead 43-34.

The fourth quarter had the most excitement as Lima Central Catholic connecting on open shots, fast break layups and solid free throw shooting pushed their lead out to 14 at 48-34 with 6:37 to go in the game.

But little-by-little Orrville started to chip away at the lead. Zach Wasson, Joey Bescanson and Jacob Bolyard started making their shots and the 14-point deficit was cut to one at 56-55 with 59.4 seconds remaining.

After Orrville called the timeout at 59.4 seconds remaining, there was a key call in the game. It was on the north baseline as Lima Catholic inbounded the ball, Samuel Miller of Orrville knocked the ball off the leg of  Ty O’Connor’s leg and out of bounds. It was right in front this reporter’s media table and clearly went off of O’Connor and every media member in the vicinity agreed it was a bad call, but the referee said it was Lima Catholic’s ball.

Orrville has to foul and Ty O’Connor sinks two free throws at 55.4 seconds and the score was 58-55 Lima Catholic. Orrville on their possession, gets fouled and Zach Wasson makes both free throws and the deficit was one again at 58-57 with 42.4 to go. The Thunderbirds called a timeout with 39.8 seconds remaining.

After the timeout, Orrville waits to foul but the ball stays in the hands of Desi Kirkman and they have no choice but to foul with 30.1 on the clock. Kirkman makes both free throws and again, it a 3-point game at 60-57.  Orrville misses a 3-point shot and then Jacob Bolyard is called for his 5th foul at 20.7 . That would be a key as the game winds down because Bolyard is the best 3-point shooter on the Orrville team.

Jon Steiger shoots 2 free throws with 20.7 seconds left and misses both. Orrville grabs the rebound and calls a timeout with 15.3 left in regulation. With their best 3-point shooter Jacob Bolyard fouling out of the game just 5 seconds beforehand, Orrville coach Sly Slaughter had very limited options late in the game for 3-point shooters. The only option was Zach Wasson who out of the timeout found a double-team from Austin Stolly and Desi Kirkman and all wasson could do was hoist up a prayer and it barely grazed the rim and Lima Central Catholic found a way to finally win a State title for their popular coach.

“I think it was a fitting ending because we did it making a great defensive play, and that’s what this team was all about and what we’ve been known for all these years,” Coach Seggerson said.

The Thunderbirds ended the season at 23-4 and with a 20 -game winning streak. Their top performers include: Austin Stolly with 16 points, Desi Kirkman with 15 points and 6 assists and Ty O’Connor with 12.  Jon Steiger had 7 rebounds. Lima Central Catholic won the game at the free throw line at 18 of 26.

Orrville finished a fine season under first-year head coach Sly Slaughter with a 21-6 record which turned a struggling program into a winner. Leading the way was Jacob Bolyard with 14 points as well as Joey Bescanson with 14 and Zach Wasson with 12. Samuel Miller took care of the backboards, hauling down 12 rebounds. Orrville simply couldn’t make free throws going 10-19.

Coach Seggerson said, ” I never dreamed that my best game would be the last one of my life. I made this decision to retire as coach and guidance counselor about a month ago. I did all the rituals, like patting the back of the bus last night, knowing that it was my last time. What a way to end a wonderful career”.

SOUNDS FROM THE POSTGAME PRESS CONFERENCE (to listen to an audio file, click on the number)

44 708 Sly Slaughter Orrville coach Overall comments on the state title game

44 710 Sly Slaughter Orrville coach Offensive rebounds and free throw shooting hurt

44 711 Sly Slaughter Orrville coach Not having Jacob Bolyard on the floor to shoot at the end Everybody knew Zach Wasson was the next option

44 712 Sly Slaughter Orrville coach His team showed character in coming back but never got into a rhythm

44 718 Sly Slaughter Orrville coach Down 14 points in 4th qtr what said to team

44 719 Sly Slaughter Orrville coach only 1 coach ever won a title in first year He almost did it

44 723A Zach Wasson Orrville Forward On playing for first year coach Sly Slaughter

44 723B Jacob Bolyard Orrville Guard Playing for Sly Slaughter was fantastic

44 726 B Bob Seggerson Lima Catholic Coach Close games in Columbus follows this team

44 727 Bob Seggerson Lima Catholic On Lima Ohio winning a state title in basketball

44 731 Bob Seggerson Lima Catholic coach On Austin Stolly’s game and future of program

44 732A Austin Stolly Lima Catholic Playing for Bob Seggerson a legend

44 732B Desi Kirkman Lima Catholic Playing for longtime coach Bob Seggerson

44 733 Bob Seggerson Lima Catholic coach How Lima CC won the state beating some tough teams

44 734 Bob Seggerson Lima Catholic coach On soph Ty O’Connor playing vs physical teams

44 736 Bob Seggerson Lima Catholic coach On Austin Stolly and Desi Kirkman as leaders

44 737 Bob Seggerson Lima coach Future is Bright at Lima Central Catholic

44 744A Desi Kirkman Lima Catholic Defense is their staple at Lima Central Catholic

44 744B Austin Stolly Lima Catholic On being a defense first team

44 744C Bob Seggerson Lima Catholic On selling defense to his players first

44 745 Bob Seggerson Lima Catholic coach This was his last game he’s retiring

GAME NOTES

* Orrville is the home of former Ohio State basketball star Bobby Knight.

* Orrville is the home of Smucker’s Jelly.

* Orrville is located between Wooster and Massillon.

* Orrville won Division III state championships in 1992, 1995, and 1996 and with a win in this championship game.

* The Red Riders has won 10 Districts titles, five Regional Tournaments and have been a Regional runner-up once.

* The Red Riders senior, Jacob Bolyard was selected first team all-Ohio by the Associated Press.

* Neither Lima Central Catholic or Orrville were ranked in the final AP poll.  Orrville did appear at #20 in the first week of voting and at #17 in week two.  Lima Central Catholic never was mentioned in the polls.

* Lima Central Catholic has won 13 District championships, six Regional titles and has been Regional runner-up three times.

* Of the six final four appearances, Lima Central Catholic has been state runner-up twice, in 1989 and 1994.  Of the five losses Lima Central Catholic has had at the State Championship tournament, every one has been by one or two points.

Orrville Red Riders taking a timeout (megasportsnews.com)

Orrville fans having a good time (megasportsnews.com)


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