LIMA – Comeback. Answer. Comeback. Answer.
It was a pattern that kept reappearing, over and over, during Toledo Notre Dame’s 69-64 win over Lima Senior in girls basketball Thursday night.
Just when it appeared Notre Dame, ranked No. 4 in the state in Division I, was going to pull away from Lima Senior, the Spartans would make a comeback.
And just when Lima Senior appeared ready to make a breakthrough, the Eagles had a rally-chilling answer.
After falling behind 10-0 to start the game, Lima Senior found itself down by only a point, 39-38, by halftime. There were six lead changes in the second quarter alone.
Then, after falling behind by 10 points early in the fourth quarter, the Spartans had a shot to tie the game in the final minute.
“I think our girls played their butts off tonight. I thought we played really hard. That’s the fourth-best team in the state. They’ve been to the state semifinals two years in a row. We gave them everything they wanted,” Lima Senior coach Vince Halliday said.
Tierra Floyd, a 6-foot, 2-inch junior, scored 34 points and pulled down 11 rebounds to lead Notre Dame (9-0, 6-0 Three Rivers Athletic Conference) and Kaayla McIntyre, also a 6-foot, 2-inch junior, had 12 points and 9 rebounds.
Indiya Benjamin led Lima Senior (10-3, 3-3 TRAC) with 31 points, including five 3-pointers, and Essence Cowan scored 11 points.
“Obviously, we didn’t have an answer for Floyd. We kind of knew that coming in,” Halladay said. “Watching that game, it was kind of like whoever had more points, Indiya or Floyd, that was who was going to win the game.”
Floyd was especially tough as an offensive rebounder against the Spartans, who have only one player on their roster over 5-feet, 10-inches tall. In the first half alone, she grabbed three missed free throws and turned them into baskets.
Notre Dame had a one-point lead at halftime, but its coach Terry Holloway wasn’t happy with what he saw in an up and down the floor game first two quarters.
His message wasn’t necessarily to slow the game down, but to be more selective at the offensive end.
It seemed to work when Notre Dame shot 67 percent on field goals (12 of 18) in the second half. Meanwhile, Lima Senior connected on only 33 percent of its second-half shots (11 of 33).
“I don’t mind running with teams and stuff but that’s their strength and they’re very good at it. I thought we took some bad shots (in the first half) that led to them scoring and that was something we talked about at halftime was taking better shots at the offensive end,” Holloway said. “I thought our kids did a good job of that in the second half.”
Both teams were without important players.
Notre Dame starting senior guard Jayda Worthy, helped the Eagles reach the state semifinals the last two years, is expected to miss the next two weeks after having surgery for meniscus injury last week.
And Lima Senior lost freshman guard Kierre James, one of its top backcourt subs, to a season-ending ACL injury last week.
“This proves to me, proves to our team that we can play with anybody,” Halliday said. “We can build from this. We can use that experience to get where we want to go. I think we scared the hell out of them.”