ELIDA – Longtime Lima Senior girls basketball coach Vince Halliday is trying to adapt to a slightly different style this season.
Having two post players out on the floor at the same time is something he’s not accustomed to seeing.
But it’s a style he’s definitely starting to warm up to.
In the first night of the Vicki Mauk Holiday Classic, Thursday at the Elida Fieldhouse, Lima Senior took an early lead and never looked back, en route to a 48-27 victory over Lima Central Catholic.
Lima Senior came into the Vicki Mauk Holiday Classic with a four-game winning streak this season.
Lima Senior’s two post players – Ajohlon Bullock (5 feet, 10 inches) and Cheyanne Bean (6-foot) – gave Lima Central Catholic’s post player, Rosie Williams (6-0), all she could handle Thursday night.
Bullock scored 12 points and pulled down seven rebounds. Bean had six points, eight boards and four steals for the Spartans (7-4).
Williams was held to four points on the night. Williams did, however, come away with eight rebounds.
“They’re good players. … They’ve been good players their whole careers,” Halliday said about Bullock and Bean. “I’ve just never played them together. I’ve always had a guard-dominated group over the years. … It’s a different style for us.
“They’re both effective. They both run the floor. They have good hands. They both did a good job on Rosie (Williams), and they finished well around the rim. AJ (Bullock) is averaging a double-double. So, she’s getting me at least 10 points and 10 rebounds every night. Cheyanne is getting me six points and eight rebounds every night. So, between them, we’re getting almost 20 (points) and 20 (rebounds) a night. That’s huge for us.”
Lexi Williams and Nakiya Sigman added 11 and 8 points, respectively for Lima Senior. Sigman, who was battling an illness, had two 3-pointers.
“Obviously, Nakiya makes us go at the point-guard position,” Halliday said. “She’s really ill. I tried to play offense-defense with her all night long. I had two other guards that were ill, also.”
In the regular-season meeting (Dec. 14) between the same two teams, Lima Senior pulled away for a 63-47 victory.
Thursday night, freshman Olivia Stolly led LCC (5-5) with 14 points.
Lima Senior will face Spencerville (7-3) in tonight’s championship game of the Vicki Mauk Holiday Classic, 20 minutes following the conclusion of the consolation game. Elida (3-6) will face LCC in the consolation contest, which will tip-off at 6 p.m.
In Thursday’s nightcap, Spencerville held off Elida, 42-35, to advance to the title game.
Lima Senior will vie for its seventh consecutive, and overall Vicki Mauk title.
Thursday night, the Spartans jumped out to an early 6-0 lead, thanks to 3-pointers from Ryann Miller (three points) and Sigman.
However, Erin Mulcahy (five points) kept the T-Birds close, as she scored five early points, including a 3-pointer.
Lima Senior slipped out with a 12-9 lead by the end of the first stanza.
Jonisha Harvey (eight points) led the way for the Spartans in the first eight minutes of action with six points (two 3-pointers).
LCC turned the ball over six times in the opening quarter.
Harvey got the Spartans going in the second quarter, as she canned two treys early on, which extended the Lima Senior lead to 18-9.
Turnovers continued to plague LCC.
The T-Birds turned it over eight times in the second quarter, and ended the first half with 14 total miscues.
Lima Senior connected four times behind the 3-point line in the first half.
The Spartans went into the halftime break with a 26-15 lead.
In the third quarter, the T-Birds struggled from the field, as they connected on just 1 of 7 shots from the floor.
The Spartans led 36-20 by the third stop.
For the game, Lima Senior shot 40 percent from the field. LCC connected on 36 percent of its field goal attempts.
The T-Birds ended the night with 20 turnovers. The Spartans turned it over 14 times.
“They (Lima Senior) did a great job of just putting ball pressure on us; and we don’t deal with it very well,” LCC coach Ron Williams said. “That’s our biggest issue, and we just have to keep working at it.”
Lima Senior held a 28-21 edge on the boards.
“We only scored 48 points – not exactly the style we want to play,” Halliday said. “We would like to play a little bit quicker. And LCC did a nice job of making us work in the paint.
“We were outstanding in the second half, defensively. I think we held them to five points in the second half, until like 2 ½ minutes to go, when I kind of emptied the
bench. So, defensively, we were outstanding, especially in the second half, and really all night long.”
Spencerville 42, Elida 35
Spencerville got an early lead, and held off Elida down the stretch for the victory in Thursday’s second game at the Elida Fieldhouse.
Spencerville held a slight lead over Elida by the end of the first quarter, 9-6.
Spencerville picked it up in the second stanza and extended the lead to, 6, 21-15 by the halftime break.
In the first half, Nelaya Burden led the Bearcats with 13 points. Addisyn Freeman, a 5-foot, 10-inch freshman, led Elida with 10 first-half points.
Burden, got into foul trouble in the second half. She went on to lead Spencerville with 13 points. Teammate Emma Leis added 10 points.
Freeman was held in check in the second half, and ended the night with 13 points. Teammate Rachel Mitchell added nine points for the Bulldogs.
Spencerville led 31-23 by the end of the third quarter.
Elida cut it to 2, 35-33, with 2:45 left to play in the game, on an old-fashion 3-point play by Addisyn Freeman.
However, the Bearcats staved off the Bulldogs down the stretch for the seven-point victory.
“Any good team will make a run at the end,” Spencerville coach Greg Ekis said. “They were being really aggressive. We were able to hold on. Lilyan Goecke (seven points) had a three in the corner that really kind of put us over the top for sure. I was really happy for her.”
This is just the second time Spencerville has been in the Vicki Mauk Holiday Classic.