It was a tale of two halves.
Lima Senior dominated the first half of its 48-45 boys basketball win over Findlay on Friday night, then held off a late surge by the Trojans in the second half.
Lima Senior led 29-17 at halftime after being ahead for all but the first 30 seconds of the opening half.
The Spartans were still up by eight points, 41-33, with five minutes left in the game but Findlay cut the lead down to one point, 46-45, on a bucket by A.J. Adams with 11 seconds to play. Free throws by Josiah Fulcher and Jourdyn Rawlins put Lima Senior in front 48-45 and a long 3-point shot by Findlay’s Isaiah Moore was off target as time ran out.
“That’s Findlay for you. They’re not going to go away,” Lima Senior coach Quincey Simpson said. “They’re going to continue to do things in their style of play. They made shots, they got some good defensive stops, they turned us over a couple times, the entire momentum shifted and they got confident.
“The game was in the 40s. We want the game in the 80s, preferably in the 90s. When you slow us down it takes away our possessions, it takes away our open looks and our transition opportunities. Late in the game we were preaching valuing the possession. That’s something we have to get better at,” he said.
Fulcher led Lima Senior (9-1, 6-0 Three Rivers Athletic Conference) with 15 points. Jamir Simpson scored 12 points and Dante Wheeler had 10 points.
Adams was the high scorer for Findlay (7-3, 4-3 TRAC) with 20 points.
After turning the ball over 10 times in the first half, Findlay has just two second-half turnovers. Lima Senior had nine turnovers in the second half after having just four in the first two quarters.
“I’m proud of the way we competed and kept battling. We just have to clean up a lot of mistakes. Playing a team like this exposes some of those things. We just have to make sure this makes us get better,” Findlay coach Jim Rucki said.
“We made some big plays in the fourth quarter. We just had some guys make some plays. Our guys fought and scratched and clawed. We just dug kind of a hole (in the first half). But they (Lima Senior) are good. It’s hard when they’ve got five guys out there who can hurt you and beat you off the dribble.
“We cannot in a million years simulate their denial and their pressure in practice. We have to see it,” he said.
Three 3-pointers, including one just before the buzzer at the end of the first quarter by Wheeler, gave Lima Senior a 17-10 lead after one quarter.
The Spartans pushed their lead to 13 points, their biggest lead of the night, at 23-10, three minutes into the second quarter on a drive to the hoop by Khalil Luster.
Findlay got back into the game right away in the first minute of the second half when Max Roth hit a 3-pointer, was fouled and hit the free throw for a four-point play.
Findlay’s starting backcourt, Roth and Moore, combined for three points in the first half and totaled 14 points between them in the second half.
Lima Senior shot 55 percent on field goals in the game (18 of 33) and Findlay shot 47 percent (17 of 36).
Reach Jim Naveau at 567-242-0414.