Westerville South 57, Lima Senior 55
Lima Senior’s possibly perfect season ended in heartbreak, missing a desperation 3-pointer at the buzzer on March 19. It took some Spartan pride to get in that situation, as they trailed big early in the first half.
The Spartans trailed by as many as five points in the fourth quarter before tying it at 55-55 on a Rico Stafford shot with 25 seconds left.
Simpson scored a team-high 17 points, while Ruben Flowers added 12. Stafford finished with 10 points. Lima Senior finished the year 29-1.
Lima Senior 61, Wilmington 58
The Spartans dominated the game’s first 17 minutes to build a 39-20 lead lead early in the third quarter, then they held on from there on March 18. Xavier Simpson scored 23 points and had five assists. Rico Stafford added 11 points and seven rebounds. Jarius Ward tallied 10 points.
“It was a valiant effort against a really good team,” said Wilmington coach John Noszka. “But when you’re down 20 and they’ve got Xavier Simpson out there, it’s tough to get the ball off him.”
Lima Senior 68, Canton McKinley 61
Lima Senior carried a 16-point lead into the final quarter on March 12 when McKinley responded with a 16-2 run to cut the lead to 53-51 with 4:32 to play. Then the Spartans turned up the defensive pressure, turning three McKinley turnovers into baskets for a bigger lead. Rico Stafford tallied 23 points, including 14 in the first half, to lead Lima Senior.
Lima Senior 46, Lorain 38
Lima Senior led by as many as 15 points twice in the third quarter March 9 at the University of Toledo. But foul trouble for Xavier Simpson, who had a team-high 16 points, opened the door for Lorain to pull within 38-37 with 3:40 to play. The Spartans’ defense held firm at pulled out the victory, though. Simpson, pictured, hit back-to-back threes in the first quarter to jump out to the early lead.
Lima Senior 34, Toledo St. John’s Jesuit 33
Xavier Simpson hit a huge 3-pointer with three minutes to play, and Marquevious Wilson, pictured, hit two free throws in the final minute to clinch the win March 5. Wilson redeemed himself after missing the front end of a one-and-one in the previous possession. It marked the third win against St. John’s Jesuit and the second one-point victory after beating the Titans in the opener.
Lima Senior 54, Toledo Whitmer 47
Lima Senior trailed Whitmer by as many as five points in the first half and by two with 6:49 to play March 3 at the University of Toledo. Then the Spartans got down to business, using an 11-2 run to pull away. Jaylin Thomas, pictured, had a team-high 15 points for Lima Senior. “We’d been in that position before, and we know how to close out games,” Thomas said afterward.
Lima Senior 70, Anthony Wayne 45
The Spartans got a good early tournament test Feb. 26. Anthony Wayne cut the lead to single digits, forcing eight second-quarter turnovers to pull within 31-23 at the half. Lima Senior pulled away on a 21-6 run at the end of the half. Xavier Simpson had a team-high 25 points, while Rico Stafford added 14 points and 10 rebounds. Jarius Ward, pictured, tallied 10 points.
Lima Senior 91, Fremont Ross 42
Lima Senior forced 29 turnovers and breezed to an easy opening-round win Feb. 24 against the same Fremont Ross team it scored 103 points against — twice — in league play. Lima Senior sprinted to an 8-2 lead and led 22-6 after the first quarter. Xavier Simpson had a team-high 21 points despite sitting out the last quarter and a half. Marquevious Wilson added 18 points, including four 3-pointers. Rico Stafford had 12 points, and Jarius Ward scored 10. Keaton Upshaw had nine points and a game-high 11 rebounds.