GALION —It wasn’t what Lucas coach Taylor Iceman would consider an offensive masterpiece, but Tuesday’s 59-44 win over Buckeye Central was a defensive gem.
The fifth-seeded Cubs (18-5) limited the Bucks to just 28 points through three quarters en route to their season-best seventh straight win in the Division IV sectional semifinals at Galion High School.
“Our offense was pretty terrible but (creating) offense through turnovers helped us immensely,” Iceman said. “They’ve got some size and they packed it in. We got it inside early, but we didn’t get a couple of calls and we started changing our shots to avoid contact.
“That was kind of ugly … but luckily tonight we made some 3-pointers.”
The Cubs heated up from beyond the 3-point arc in the second quarter. Lucas hit four triples in the period and outscored the Bucks (6-17) 19-13 for a 26-20 halftime lead.
“They are at you full court on every possession,” Buckeye Central coach Eric Picklesimer said. “Turnovers were just costly.”
Buckeye Central cut the Lucas lead to 30-26 midway through the third on a Jake Heefner layup, but the Cubs closed the quarter on a 7-2 run to take a 37-28 lead to the fourth. The spurt included a pair of easy transition buckets after steals.
“We had fewer turnovers in the second half than we did the first,” Picklesimer said. “However, they were costly turnovers. They went and finished and that is what stung.”
Lucas extended its lead to 43-29 less than a minute into the fourth quarter on consecutive 3-pointers by Carson Hauger. The athletic junior scored all six of his points in the fourth.
“He made those two big shots when we needed them,” Iceman said. “He’s a great shooter, but he doesn’t ever do it.”
Riley Gossom led the Cubs with 18 points. Logan Niswander added 15 and Ethan Sauder had 13.
“We’re fortunate that we have so many guys who are capable,” Iceman said. “Riley is going to get the second or third best defender on the floor guarding him and with his length, he’s either going to have a smaller guard on him or a bigger, slower guy.
“He’s quick and explosive and gets to the rim as well as anybody.”
Heefner led the Bucks with 14 points. Darren Wurm added 12.
“We had some great looks and took advantage of our size, but we just couldn’t finish at the rim, Picklesimer said. “We kept attacking, but we just couldn’t get them to fall. That hurt.”
The Cubs return to action at 8 p.m. Friday against No. 4 seed Norwalk St. Paul at Galion.