Logan Herron of Jefferson goes after a loose ball in their matchup with LCC on Tuesday. (DHI Media/Joe Dray)
Logan Herron of Jefferson goes after a loose ball in their matchup with LCC on Tuesday. (DHI Media/Joe Dray)
LIMA — After containing the Thunderbirds in the first half, Jefferson struggled on defense in the second half and fell 70-49 to Lima Central Catholic on Tuesday night. Biggz Johnson went on a terror after halftime, racking up 15 of his 21 points in the final two quarters.

Ian Wannemacher led the Wildcats with 15 points and Damon Wiltsie accounted for nine.

Hunter Mericle put Jefferson on the board with a 3-pointer early in the first quarter but a shot by Michael Ripenhoff tied the game at 5-5. A jumper by Mericle gave the Cats a slim lead just moments later and a triple by Trent Teman helped push Jefferson to a 13-10 advantage after one quarter.

LCC cut the lead down to one early in the second quarter but Wannemacher responded with a 3-pointer to give the Wildcats a 16-12 lead. The T-Birds battled back midway though the second and ended the first half on a 15-5 run. Wannemacher hit a 2-point bucket with :05 left and ended a 4:15 drought for the Cats.

The Thunderbirds picked up the pace in the second half and blew the game wide open. Johnson and Shaun Thomas each hit a pair of 3-pointers and LCC went a perfect 4-for-4 from the charity stripe. The offensive explosion left Jefferson facing a 51-36 deficit after three quarters of action.

Things didn’t get much better for the Wildcats in the fourth quarter as LCC opened on a 7-0 run. Logan Hubert had the only field goal for Jefferson in the final 8:00 and Jefferson went 8-for-12 from the line in the quarter. They finished the game shooting 70-percent (14-of-20) from the free-throw line but the T-Birds proved to be too much as the Cats fall 70-49.

“LCC picked up the physicality in the second half and we couldn’t respond,” said Jefferson head coach Jordan Jettinghoff. “They picked up the pace as well and we kind of withered. Damon Wiltsie, Logan Hubert and Ian Wannemacher all did some good things tonight. There were some positive things in the first half but I was disappointed with the effort in the second half.”

With the loss, Jefferson drops to 8-11 (4-2 NWC) and the Thunderbirds improve to 11-8.

Jefferson 13 8 15 12 - 49

LCC 10 17 24 19 - 70

Jefferson (49)

Ian Wannemacher 15, Damon Wiltsie 9, Trent Teman 7, Hunter Mericle 7, Doug Long Jr. 4, Logan Hubert 4, Colin Bailey 2

LCC (70)

Biggz Johnson 21, Shaun Thomas 14, Rossy Moore 12, Michael Riepenhoff 8, Rodney Bennett 6, Sam Hardesty 4, Nate Stolly 2, Ross Otto 2, Meshaud Moore 1

Junior Varsity

Jefferson 5 7 18 5 - 35

LCC 8 17 16 7 - 50