LIMA — Lima Senior did enough right down the stretch to survive.
The Spartans saw its 16-point halftime lead melt down to two in the final seconds.
But Lima Senior got a steal and layup down the stretch to post a 54-51 girls basketball victory over Toledo Central Catholic Thursday at Lima Senior.
The victory pushes Lima Senior (10-3, 5-1 Three Rivers Athletic Conference) into second place alone behind first-place Notre Dame Academy (5-0 TRAC).
“They play just like us,” Lima Senior guard Destiny McDonald said. “They like to get the ball up the court and they like to press. We knew what we were coming into. We just knew we had to be better than them.’’
Toledo Central Catholic is 4-6, 4-2 in the TRAC. TCC was coming off two losses at the prestigious Lakota West Holliday Tournament.
“We made just enough plays to get it done,” Lima Senior coach Vince Halliday said. … “That’s a big win and in our league, that gets us in second place by ourselves.’’
McDonald led Lima Senior with 18 points.
“I don’t know how we let them come back, but we came together and we did what we had to do to finish,” McDonald said.
Nakiya Sigman had 14 points with three 3-pointers, all in the first quarter.
Talor Washington had eight points and five rebounds. Cheyanne Bean had six points and eight rebounds.
Ajohlon Bullock had four points and seven rebounds.
TCC was led by 6-foot, Hillsdale-bound Maverick Delp, who had 20 points and 12 boards. Delp was 10 of 10 from the field, all on power layups.
Lima Senior’s pressure defense and running game chewed up TCC in the first half.
The Spartans forced 15 first-half TCC turnovers and Lima Senior led 35-19 at the half.
TCC scrapped its press and its man-to-man in the second half and came out in a 2-3 zone.
But it wasn’t a passive zone, as the two defenders at the top swarmed the Spartans at the 3-point line.
“Typically, we don’t (play a lot of zone), but it was the right move to go to today,” TCC coach Corri Stanley said. “Unfortunately, we couldn’t close the deal.
“We knew if we were going to go to zone, we would have to be pretty active. They have multiple kids who can shoot. … But we had too many turnovers in the first half.’’
The zone helped the Irish rip off a 14-4 run to start the third quarter.
“It was a 2-3 zone, but they were very aggressive in it,” Halliday said. “When you caught it, they were running up at you. We got a little tentative against it. … And we got a little jump-shot happy.’’
That brought TCC within 39-33 with 3:13 left in the third.
Lima Senior led 45-37 early in the fourth quarter, when TCC went on a 7-0 run to get within 45-44 with 6:05 left to go.
Lima Senior led 49-46 in the final minute when Washington gobbled up a steal, ran the floor, but missed the layup.
McDonald was there to hit the putback and was fouled.
When McDonald sank the foul shot, the Spartans led 51-46 with 37 seconds left.
“Talor had a huge steal and Destiny was there to follow,” Halliday said.
Lima Senior had chances to expand its lead, but the Spartans hit just 5 of 16 at the line in the fourth quarter.
For the game, Lima Senior hit 8 of 23 at the line.
“There is no way to explain it,” McDonald said. “We need to work on those.’’
Lima Senior forced 23 TCC turnovers.
Sigman hit 1 of 2 at the line to give the Spartans a 54-51 lead with nine seconds left.
TCC, which called timeout with 7.7 seconds left, missed a 3-pointer with one second left from the top of the key and the Spartans claimed the win.
The Spartans had the running game and the long-range game going early.
Lima Senior forced 15 TCC turnovers in the first half, as the Spartans jumped out to a 21-10 lead after the first quarter.
McDonald had four fast-break layups in the opening quarter for eight points.
Sigman hit back-to-back 3-pointers, including giving the Spartans’ the lead to stay with a three at 9-6.
Reach The Lima News sports department at 567-242-0451.