FOSTORIA — Coaches always talk about surviving and advancing when basketball season turns to tournament time.
For the first three quarters of its 70-46 Division I boys basketball sectional opening win over Toledo Waite on Wednesday night, Lima Senior did probably a little more surviving than expected.
But in the last 8 1/2 minutes of the game, when the Spartans turned a three-point lead into a 24-point advantage, they did a whole lot of advancing.
Lima Senior will now play Toledo Whitmer at 8 p.m. Friday at Fostoria High School for a chance to advance to a district semifinal game.
Jarius Ward scored 30 points and pulled down nine rebounds to lead Lima Senior (16-7). Carl Banks had 18 points for Waite (13-10).
Lima Senior jumped out to a 19-8 lead after one quarter behind 15 points by Ward in the first eight minutes.
The 6-2 senior hit three 3-pointers in the game’s first six minutes.
But, with the help of some cold shooting by Lima Senior in the second quarter, Waite cut the lead to 24-18 at halftime.
The Spartans pulled out to a 10-point lead, 36-26, with two minutes left in the third quarter, but Waite reduced that lead to three points a minute and a half later.
But a 21-3 run by the Spartans over the next five minutes turned a three-point edge into a 57-36 lead.
From there it was matter of playing out the final minutes in a game filled with fouls and which had four technical fouls — three of them on Waite.
“It took us a while to get going offensively. But giving up only 18 points in the first half defensively, I thought was fantastic,” Lima Senior coach Quincey Simpson said.
“Offensively it took us a while but the guys stuck with the game plan,” he said. “We were able to get some transition points and pulled away.
“We always tell these guys basketball is a game of runs. They (Waite) made a couple runs. But we kept our composure, we kept our heads strong. Guys listened to the details tonight,” Simpson said.
Wednesday night’s game was the first time Lima Senior ever played Toledo Waite.
The next opponent, fellow Three Rivers Athletic Conference team Whitmer, is much more familiar. Whitmer took a 77-74 win over the Spartans two weeks ago.
“Whitmer is going to be tough. We hope our pressure can cause them some problems. We’re familiar with them, they’re very familiar with us. It’s going to come down to who does the small things,” Simpson said.
Reach Jim Naveau at 567-242-0414 or on Twitter at @Lima_Naveau.