Lima Central Catholic’s effort earned a tip of the cap, but Lima Senior tipped the game its way in the fourth quarter when it won its boys basketball rivalry game 68-60 over the Thunderbirds on Tuesday night at Lima Senior.
LCC (8-7) led for much of the game and was tied with the Spartans (11-2), a heavy favorite in the minds of many people, with less than three minutes left in the game before Lima Senior pulled away.
“They were ready to play, plain and simple. They fought hard. You have to tip your hat to them. They just played a good game,” Lima Senior coach Quincey Simpson said after the Spartans won for the fifth year in a row against the Thunderbirds.
Josiah Fulcher scored 22 points and Kahlil Luster had 17 points to lead the Spartans. Jamir Simpson scored 14 points and pulled down seven rebounds. After not connecting on a 3-pointer in the first half, Fulcher hit four of them in the second half.
Tre Garner’s 19 points and 11 rebounds led LCC. Shaun Thomas and Bigzz Johnson both scored 14 points.
“It was a good game for the most part,” LCC coach Frank Kill said. “We had a lot of opportunities at the basket where their height and athleticism prevented us from getting easy lay-ups.
“I thought our guys played hard for 32 minutes. I wasn’t happy but I was pleased because we played hard for 32 minutes. No one likes to lose, so you’re not happy. I told them it was going to be 12 rounds and it went down to the last round,” he said.
Simpson said, “I think our guys assumed from listening to too many people that we would just walk in here and win the game. You don’t play the game that way. I thought we were playing hard. I thought at times we were impatient.”
LCC led much of the first half before the teams went to the locker room tied at 31-31.
The Thunderbirds survived seven first-quarter turnovers to lead 20-16 after the first eight minutes, including Johnson going 9 for 9 at the free throw line.
LCC extended its lead to 27-18 on a breakaway lay-up by Jeremy Allen two minutes into the second quarter before Lima Senior began to chip away at the lead.
Lima Senior ran off nine unanswered points to tie the game at 27-27. LCC responded with back-to-back buckets to make it 31-27 before Kahlil Luster’s lay-up tied it at 31-31 at halftime.
Lima Senior led 51-48 after three quarters. The game was tied 60-60 with 2:44 to play after Garner scored on an offensive rebound before Lima Senior scored the final eight points of the game.
Reach Jim Naveau at 567-242-0414.