FINDLAY — Findlay didn’t really have an answer for the kind of defense Lima Senior played in a 45-32 win over the Trojans in a Division I boys basketball district semifinal at Liberty-Benton on Thursday night.
In fact, the Trojans didn’t even have much of an opening statement.
Lima Senior (21-3) jumped out to an 18-7 lead in the game’s first 12 minutes and never looked back. Findlay (12-12) never got closer than seven points the rest of the way.
“We played great defense tonight. We talked about it all week. We talked about it every day what we wanted to do against some of their sets. I thought my guys executed what we did very well,” Lima Senior coach Quincey Simpson said.
“I thought they anticipated we were going to break down defensively and we have done that at times over the years. But we were solid,” he said.
Elijah Pughsley scored 11 points, nine of them in the first half, to lead Lima Senior’s offense and Ruben Flowers and Xavier Simpson had nine points each. Chase Miller’s 10 points led Findlay.
The Spartans will now play Ashland (22-1) at 2 p.m. Saturday at Liberty-Benton for a district championship.
Ashland defeated Mansfield Senior 61-58 in Thursday night’s other district semifinal.
Thursday night’s win over Findlay was Lima Senior’s third over the Trojans this season, following a 60-43 win in January and a 72-65 decision in February.
While Lima Senior anticipated the possibility of seeing something different from the Trojans, they approached the game similarly to the first two, Quincey Simpson said.
“We anticipated they would do something different but they didn’t,” he said.
Lima Senior took a 20-11 halftime lead in an unconventional, or at least out of the ordinary way.
Pughsley and Flowers combined for Lima Senior’s first 15 points and point guard Xavier Simpson was almost absent from the stat sheet with no points, no steals and one shot attempt in the first two quarters.
Lima Senior was able to disrupt Findlay’s offense with defensive pressure early, mostly in the halfcourt. Half of Lima Senior’s eight first-half field goals were the direct result of Findlay turnovers.
“We started strong. Findlay is our rival so it’s always going to be a tough game. It wasn’t really frustrating. We knew their plays, they knew our plays,” Pughsley said.
Lima Senior led by as many as 13 points in the third quarter but Findlay was able to cut the margin to eight early in the fourth quarter. After a timeout with 5:32 to play, Lima Senior reasserted itself.
“The last game they went on like a 17-5 run. He (Quincey Simpson) said we had to be smart and we had to pick it up,” Pughsley said.