LIMA — By starting three freshmen this season, Lima Senior head coach Vince Halliday knows this season was going to be filled with a lot of highs and lows and after opening the year 1-4 overall and 0-2 in the Three Rivers Athletic Conference the Spartans were trending down.
But the Spartans reversed their fortunes by scoring a thrilling 61-59 comeback victory Thursday night against the Little Giants.
With the win the Spartans improve to 1-2 in the TRAC and 2-4 for the season. Fremont Ross falls to 2-2 in conference play and 4-2 overall.
“I think since we were able to pull that win out we can build some momentum for the future,” Halliday said. “Coming off this comeback when I think we are feeling pretty good about ourselves as we prepare for the crosstown rivalry with LCC Saturday.”
The Spartans, who were down 15 at halftime, 38-23, appeared to be heading for another loss as the Little Giants had little trouble breaking the Spartans press to open up the double-digit advantage in the first half.
Also hurting the Spartans’ cause was their inability to convert bunnies inside.
“Obviously in the first half wasn’t very pretty,” Halliday said. “We couldn’t finish in the paint and I think we were 2 for 20 inside the first half and it was really frustrating. In the second half we pulled them back and went straight man to man and really stopped pressing and trapping and kept it simple.”
With the defensive adjustment in the second half and the Spartans finding their stroke the Spartans slowly began to climb back in the game and when freshman Nakiya Sigman, one of the three starting freshman who has been hampered with injuries the early part of the season, drained a 3-pointer at the 7:12 mark, the score was 47-41.
Despite the the Spartans chipping away at the lead, the Little Giants temporarily held off the Spartans’ surge and managed to get the lead back to 11, 47-36, going into the final period.
But by gaining a rhythm in the third quarter the Spartans found themselves on a roll in the final period and outscored Fremont Ross, 16-7, in the first five minutes of the fourth period to knot the score at 54.
“We got it six in 48 seconds to start the fourth quarter after back-to-back threes and we just started gaining some momentum,” Halliday said.
In the final three minutes, the Spartans kept the momentum and their composure and outscored the Little Giants 7-4 to record the win. Helping to seal the deal was Sigman, who despite being a first-year player, was cool under pressure by going 4 for 4 from the free throw line in the last two minutes to help secure the win. As a team the Spartans went 11 for 11 in the second half from the charity stripe.
Sigman finished with 20 points, including 13 in the second half, led the Spartans in scoring. Latoine Cowan added 13 in the victory.
“Sigman was huge in the fourth quarter knocking down those free throws in the fourth quarter,” Halliday said.
Halliday, who praised his freshman’s effort said he got a lot of contributions from several players such as Taja Oglesbee and Ajohlon Bullock that helped in the comeback.
Another freshman who got the job done on the boards was Cheyanne Bean. The 6-foot post player got physical inside to grabbed 12 caroms.
For the Little Giants, Jazmin Bulger pumped in a game-high 24 points and Jasannah Sabiers added 16.
Jose Nogueras can be reached at 567-242-0468.