LIMA – Oregon Clay didn’t waste much time in pouncing on a sluggish Lima Senior girls basketball team Monday.
Clay pulled out to an early lead and never looked back in a 60-43 Three Rivers Athletic Conference victory. The Eagles improved to 15-3 overall and 8-3 in the TRAC while the Spartans tumbled to 11-8, 5-7.
“Clay is legitimately good and they’ve had a great season,” Lima Senior coach Vince Halliday said. “They play basketball the right way. They share, they cut, they move without the ball and we don’t do those things.”
Lima Senior’s only lead was early when Essence Cowan bagged a 3-pointer for a 3-2 lead. Clay then went on a 17-1 run for a 19-4 lead late in the first quarter. By halftime, the lead was 34-17.
“Our girls were moving without the ball well, cutting well and I thought we did a really nice job of digging in and playing defense in the first half,” Clay coach Corey Slovak said.
Lima Senior committed 14 turnovers in the first half and made just 7-of-23 field goals (30 percent) while Clay had seven turnovers and hit 13-of-24 shots (54 percent).
With his team down 15-4 in the first quarter, Halliday pulled his starters and gradually brought them in during the second quarter. In the third quarter, he pulled them again and brought them back as the game went on.
“The first group wasn’t doing anything so I thought we might as well give some other kids an opportunity,” Halliday said. “The second group played hard, they played as a team … the first group just didn’t play hard.
“The bottom line is we got what we deserved, the better team won.”
Lima Senior finished with 23 turnovers and hit 17-of-45 from the field (37 percent) as Rion Thompson had a team-high 11 points and Kierre James scored nine points.
Clay had four players reach double-digits, led by Samantha Enck’s game-high 13 points. Clay hit 51 percent from the field.
“We’ve kind of been in a funk on offense lately so to get in a game like Lima Senior likes to play, which is fast and uptempo, that was good for us,” Slovak said.
Lima Senior travels to take on rival Findlay on Thursday, a team the Spartans beat easily earlier this season, before playing host to TRAC leader Notre Dame Academy (17-1, 11-1) to finish the regular season Feb. 19.
Halliday said he wasn’t sure if Monday’s loss would serve as a wake-up call as his team finishes the regular season before heading into tournament play.
“I honestly don’t know,” he said. “I would love to say something clicks from this but I’m not sure. This is as low as it gets.”