All the suspense was out of Lima Senior’s 100-45 boys basketball win over Dayton Dunbar in the Kewpee Holiday Classic by the final two minutes of Friday night’s game.
All the suspense except for one thing. The Spartans got to the edge of scoring 100 points with around two minutes left and then didn’t hit three digits until the final few seconds on a free throw by Jawan Anderson.
Lima Senior (4-1) will play Lakewood St. Edward (5-0) in tonight’s championship game. St. Edward beat Toledo Rogers 86-57 in Friday night’s first game behind 21 points by Demetrius Terry.
Obviously, this was not a typical Dunbar team. The Wolverines (1-5), who won four state titles between 2005 and 2015 and played in two other state tournaments in that time frame, are in a serious rebuilding phase.
They are playing for their third coach in three seasons, several players have transferred and last year’s Dayton City League Player of the Year, Jonathan Allen, is out for the season after suffering a torn ACL during football season.
Josiah Fulcher scored 19 points, 13 of them in the third quarter, to lead Lima Senior. Da’San Clair had 14 points, Jamir Simpson scored 13, Jermaine Daniel had 11 points and Anderson had 10 points.
Only the first four minutes of Friday night’s second game belonged to Dunbar and even that had an asterisk next to it.
Dunbar went out to an 11-4 lead at the 3:50 mark of the first quarter, but Lima Senior coach Quincey Simpson pulled his starters barely a minute into the game and played 11 players in the first 2 ½ minutes.
“We didn’t start the way we wanted so I had to pull those guys out, which is something I’ve done in the past. No matter who we’re playing guys have to come out with a certain type of energy and if we don’t have that certain type of energy we’re going to try some other guys,” Simpson said.
“I had to give them a wake-up call and they responded well and we were able to turn it around and get it done,” he said.
Once the starters returned order was restored. Lima Senior outscored the Wolverines 43-15 in the last 12 minutes of the first half to go up 47-19 after two quarters.
“Overall, I think it was our (defensive) pressure. We knew our pressure would give them some issues. As the game got going our energy level was high, guys starting making shots, guys started making defensive plays,” Simpson said.
“They’re not the typical Dunbar the state is used to seeing but I’m sure they’re going to get it changed around,” he said.
Lakewood St. Edward, with four starters back from a district champion team last season, will present a distinctly different level of challenge than Dunbar.
“They’re going to be really good, they’re really well coached. They’ve got D-I kids all over the court. We have to play physical, we have to play our style, we have to make shots and we have to get stops,” Simpson said.
Another concern for the Spartans is the status of point guard Kahlil Luster, who took a hard fall on Friday night, and Cameron Miles, who suffered some type of back injury.
“We don’t know if either is going to be ready to go tomorrow. We hope so,” Simpson said.
Reach Jim Naveau at 567-242-0414.