That is what my thoughts were after watching Lima Senior’s boys basketball team end a nine-game losing streak to rival Findlay on Tuesday night.
The game certainly didn’t start impressive, though, for the Spartans.
Quincey Simpson’s team trailed 15-7 at the end of the first quarter.
But the Spartans’ speed and athleticism took over in the second quarter as Senior High went on a 25-4 run to take control of the game and never looked back.
That was the impressive part.
This was the fifth time I had seen Lima Senior basketball in person this season, and it was clearly the Spartans’ best game of the year.
The slow start to the campaign — they lost their first two games of the season — should have been expected with new players trying to mesh with key returnees and all of them trying to get used to a new head coach.
But Lima Senior basketball has always had high expectations of being very good.
The Spartans just didn’t reach those expectations the last several years.
But with the new players that came into the program combined with the players that were coming back — well, Lima Senior was penciled in, by many, to go undefeated and make a tournament run.
Not fair expectations.
It takes time for everyone to get on the same page, for sure.
It’s a process.
“Baby steps,” is how Coach Simpson describes his team’s progress.
I always remember legendary Lima Central Catholic coach Bob Seggerson’s annual quote to me when I interviewed him at the start of each basketball season.
“We want to be a better team at the end of the year, than we are now.” he would tell me.
Of course, that’s true.
For every coach and every program.
But it’s easier said than done.
Lima Senior has won four straight games now after opening the season with back to back losses.
But the road gets difficult with the Spartans having to play their remaining 16 regular season games over a 48 day period.
That’s a game every three days.
The good news for Lima Senior is that Quincey can play a lot of players off his bench, which he has done in the early going.
So far, it is a team that doesn’t shoot the ball well from the outside, but when they take it to the basket — they can be a dangerous team offensively.
And early on, they have been very good at offensive rebounding, which is a big key to success as well.
Defensively, Quincey told me he believes they are getting better at it.
Again, it’s a process.
I have been impressed with Quincey and his coaching so far this season.
There is a perception out there that because Simpson coached AAU ball for many years, and this is his first season of being a head coach of a high school program, that he would just throw the ball up at the beginning of the game, and let his players just run up and down the floor.
That hasn’t happened.
I love the “teaching” timeouts that Quincey has taken in each of the games.
See something he didn’t like out on the floor?
He calls a timeout and addresses the player or players immediately.
He’s done that several times so far this season.
Lima Senior showing patience and holding the ball?
Not in previous years, but in the Elida game last Saturday, that is exactly what the Spartans did to make the Bulldogs come out of their zone defense and be forced to man up.
It helped Lima Senior pull away to victory in the end.
It may have been only one win Tuesday night in Findlay.
But that win came on the road and against a program that had dominated Lima Senior, of late.
Nine straight games that the Spartans had lost to the Trojans, before last night.
Findlay head coach Jim Rucki knew exactly how many times in a row his team had beaten Lima Senior.
Quincey Simpson didn’t.
He knows now.
His Spartan team owns a one game winning streak against its I-75 rival.
And if his team continues to take the “baby steps” that the head coach has been seeing, high expectations will become reality for this Lima Senior program.
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