OTTAWA — Zach Kuhlman was the only Leipsic player returning to
tournament action from the Vikings state finalist team of a season ago.
it was only fitting that Kuhlman showed his younger teammates the way.
Behind Kuhlman's early offensive explosion the younger Vikings were able
to settle in and help Leipsic to a 62-43 win over McComb in the
Division IV sectional semi-finals Wednesday night at Ottawa-Glandorf.
The Vikings (12-11) advance to face Putnam County League rival Columbus Grove (13-9) Friday night around 8 p.m.
Kuhlman was the focus of the McComb defense, the senior scored 15 first
quarter points to help the Vikings to a lead they never lost. Kuhlman
hit two three-pointers early, around a Gavin Cupp basket, to help put
the Vikings up 8-0. After a putback by McComb’s Clay Dysert, Kuhlman
added a two-point basket, then hit another three that had the Vikings leading 13-2 with 3:48 left in the opening quarter.
just did what I normally do,” Kuhlman said of his early outburst. “I
just tried to get open and get the ball in the hole. A lot of these guys
never played in a tournament game. I’m the only one with experience
playing in tournament, so I knew if I came out ready to go they would
“Zach is a special player,” Leipsic coach Scott Maag
said. “When he got it going, when he started hitting big shots to get us
that early lead, I think that took a lot of pressure off our young
McComb scored five straight points to get within 13-7
before Kuhlman scored on a layup on a give and go, before Jordan Brown
converted a three point play. Another basket by Kuhlman and a Neil
Haselman jumper had the Viking up 22-9.
While Leipsic was
hitting 9-of-14 shots, with three three-pointers, McComb struggled
shooting as they were 3-of-11 in the opening quarter and 2-of-9 from the
floor in the second quarter. For the game, McComb was 15-of-48
shooting, while the Vikings were 20-of-33 from two-point range.
thought our defense was our offense because we closed them down really
well and made it tough for them to get good looks,” Maag said. “We
started getting some easy baskets in transition and it started
snowballing. All of sudden, that basket looks huge.”
within 26-14 in the second quarter before the Vikings closed the second
quarter with a 7-2 run for a 31-16 halftime lead. Leipsic went on a 14-2
run to start the third quarter as Matt Schroeder had eight points in
the run as he drained a pair of three-pointers.
“That's been the
story of our last month of basketball,” McComb coach Aaron Roth said.
“We've tried different lineups, we tried different offenses, we tried
different defenses; I probably even should have put in their heads, but
before we went out I said we cant afford to get off to a slow start. I
thought we had good defense on Kuhlman that first possession and he hits
a big shot from the corner. But we missed so many easy shots and it
snowballed after that. The second half we tried to do what we could to
make it interesting.”
After Kuhlman's 25 points, Matt Schroeder
finished with nine and Cupp had eight points. Jordan Brown had seven
points and seven rebounds.
Clay Grubb led the Panthers with 16 points and Chas Shoop had seven points. Trey Hanes pulled down five rebounds.
* * *
Leipsic 26-47 4-11 62:
Cupp 4-0-8; M. Schroeder 3-1-9; Haselman 1-0-2; G. Schroeder 0-0-0;
Mangas 0-0-0; Hiegel 0-0-0; Brown 2-3-7; Scheckelhoff 1-0-2; Kuhlman
11-0-25; R. Schroeder 2-0-5; Lopez 2-0-4.
McComb 15-48 10-15 43:
Reardon 0-0-0; Glaser 1-0-2; Schroeder 1-0-2; Hanes 2-0-4; Beeson
0-0-0; Dysert 2-1-6; Shoop 3-1-7; Siferd 0-0-0; Bryan 1-0-2; Grubb
4-6-16; Adams 0-2-2; Clark 1-0-2.
Leipsic 22 9 20 11 - 62
McComb 9 7 8 19 - 43
Three-point goals: Leipsic 6-14 (Kuhlman 3, M. Schroeder 2, R. Schroeder 1); McComb 3-16 (Grubb 2, Dysert 1).
Rebounds: Leipsic 34 (Brown 7); McComb 21 (Hanes 5).
Turnovers: Leipsic 15, McComb 15.