LIMA — Lima Senior was ready for a fresh start but an all too familiar nemesis bit the Spartans again.
Toledo Whitmer’s 48-47 win over the Spartans on Friday night at Lima Senior was the third time this season they had lost by one point.
Elida, Toledo St. Francis and now Whitmer have beaten Lima Senior by one point. And the Spartans also lost by two to Fremont Ross.
Whitmer (10-3, 6-1 Three Rivers Athletic Conference) came back from seven points down at the start of the fourth quarter to pull out the victory.
Edward Colbert and Leon Hughes both scored 11 points to lead the Panthers and Cavon Butler scored their final five points in the game’s last 2 ½ minutes.
Jaleel King had 21 points for Lima Senior (6-6, 2-4 TRAC).
Both teams struggled offensively most of the night, but Whitmer was able to find the range in the fourth quarter, including hitting three of the four 3-pointers it had in the game in the final 6 ½ minutes.
Whitmer shot 35 percent (16 of 46) on field goals and Lima Senior made 32 percent of its shots (12 of 37).
Two long dry spells were particularly damaging to Lima Senior’s chances when it did not get a field goal in the first quarter and had only one in the fourth quarter.
Jermaine Daniel’s steal for a bucket with 7:08 left in the second quarter was Lima Senior’s first field goal of the game. In the fourth quarter, King’s follow-up of his own miss for a score with 1:27 left in the game was the Spartans only field goal in that quarter.
Both teams had more turnovers than field goals – Lima Senior by a 19-12 margin and Whitmer’s mistakes led its field goal total by one, 17-16.
Lima Senior turned a 20-18 halftime lead into a 34-27 advantage after three quarters and was still up by six points, 39-33, with 5:40 left in the game.
King’s hoop and free throw gave Lima Senior a 47-46 lead with 1:27 to play. But Whitmer, playing without two starters who had fouled out, got a big lift from Butler off the bench.
His bucket with 59 seconds to play put Whitmer ahead 48-47. The Spartans’ Bryan Miller missed two free throws with 1.4 seconds on the clock and when the second one went out of bounds off a Whitmer player, Lima Senior got the ball and got off a long shot just before the buzzer but it was off target, too.
Reach Jim Naveau at 567-242-0414 or on Twitter at @Lima_Naveau.