DEPUE — Big scoring runs and big defense helped the DePue Little Giants get a big 63-29 home win over the LaMoille-Ohio Lions at home Tuesday night.
Led by points leader Austin Cisco (15), Marcus Winfert (11), Rahim McKee-Strong (10) and Rafa Puga (10), the Little Giants were in control from the opening tip to the final buzzer, with the Lions tying the game on their second possession, only to see DePue continue to build on their lead and not look back.
Manny Winfert contributed nine points and Rahim Mckee-Strong chipped in eight to DePue’s scoring effectiveness.
“Overall, I thought we played a real good game,” DePue coach Charlie “The Chef” Klinefelter said. “But I’m a coach that wants perfection sometimes, and they need to work a little harder because you need to bury teams when you have the chance.”
Unfortunately for DePue, a loss was suffered as well with the early second quarter exit of one of their captains, Eddie Moreno, due to concussion protocol.
“I’m thinking Eddie’s fine, but he still has to be looked at by a doctor,” Klinefelter said. “Him being gone hurt, because we needed that outside shooting, and he wasn’t in there.”
Moreno put up DePue’s first points of the game with a steal resulting in a fast-break layup, followed by Ryan Schultz getting the Lions on the board to tie the score their first and only time.
Cisco then received a pass from Little Giants’ big man Strong and scored from under the goal to regain a lead for DePue they would not relinquish, helped by a 20-point run that finally ended in the mid-second quarter.
The first half ended with a 35-11 Little Giants lead.
Turnovers were a problem for the Lions that DePue readily took advantage of.
“You can’t turn the ball over,” L-O coach Kenny Shrimplin said. “You can’t make mistakes against a good team like this; that’s what it comes down to.”
Another difference was Strong at the top of the key more than in the paint, being the deliverer rather than the recipient of shots to the inside.
“We were getting it into the inside,” Klinefelter said. “You’ve just got to finish, that’s the big thing on our offense.
“We’ve got to rotate the basketball, get to the inside and make those little shots.”
LaMoille-Ohio started the second half more aggressively, catching DePue uncharacteristically off guard.
“That’s how I told them to come out,” Shrimplin said. “Anything can happen in the second half.
“The third quarter has been our weak point this year so far, so today it’s ‘come on, change that.’”
The Little Giants responded with a 9-0 run, expanding their lead to 52-19 at the end of the third quarter.
L-O managed to get the ball through the net a few more times in the fourth quarter, but too late to mount a threat to keep DePue from winning the game, 63-29.
“I could never complain about my guys’ effort,” Shrimplin said of his Lions (now 3-13). “They always give 120 percent, no matter how bad the game gets. I’m happy with the effort tonight. We’ll have a couple days of practice and move on to Hinckley Friday night.”
Schultz and Dominic Moore led L-O’s effort with six points apiece for the evening.
• Notes: The Little Giants drew the top seed for the Tri-County Conference Tournament which tips off Jan. 22 in Granville. Their first game will be at 6 p.m. Jan. 23.
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