FOSTORIA — The countdown to a running clock started early in Lima Senior’s 80-47 win over Toledo Waite in its Division I boys basketball sectional opener on Saturday afternoon at Fostoria High School.
Lima Senior came into the game with a 19-3 record and Waite went into the postseason with a 2-18 record with the two wins coming over a Division IV team and a Division III team. So the clock was probably ticking on an abbreviated second half even before the opening tip.
It was certainly in play when Lima Senior ran out to a 32-11 lead after one quarter and there was no doubt it was coming after the Spartans went ahead by 40 points with 4 ½ minutes left in the first half.
The running clock kicks in when a team is ahead by 35 points in the second half of Ohio High School Athletic Association tournament games.
Lima Senior reached that level in the first minute of the second half and now will play Ashland at 8 p.m. Thursday at the University of Toledo. Ashland beat Fremont Ross 69-65 in the first sectional game Saturday at Fostoria.
Josiah Fulcher scored 32 points and Jadakis Mack had 14 points to lead Lima Senior. Waite got 16 points from Demond Allen.
Lima Senior forced 26 turnovers in the first half, including 16 in the first quarter, which led to fast break after fast break and multiple dunks.
“We didn’t necessarily come to do that. It worked out for us,” Lima Senior coach Quincey Simpson said about the first time he’d ever coached in a game with a running clock.
The running clock has its benefits, including avoiding injuries in a blowout. But it also means less playing time for bench players.
“Of course I want the running clock. I want to get it over with as quick as possible. However, guys come to practice every day and practice hard just as much as the guys who play. So I do want to be able to get those guys quality minutes. But they understand at this juncture of the season we just want to move on,” he said.
Lima Senior backed off the press in the second half but the damage was already done to Waite.
“We put a new fullcourt defense in. It’s still not where we want it to be, but if you force 26 turnovers in one half you’re doing something right. We’ll go back and watch film, break some things down and try to get it better for Thursday,” Simpson said.
Jamir Simpson, the Spartans’ No. 2 scorer and leading rebounder, returned to action on Saturday after missing the last five games for an unspecified reason.
He did not start but entered the game with 4:43 left in the first quarter and had six points and four rebounds.
“It worked out. He’s weathered it. He’s back with us. He obviously will be back in the starting lineup. He helps us,” Quincey Simpson said.
Asked if he could discuss why Simpson had not dressed or played since Lima Senior played Shawnee on Jan. 25, he said, “No. That’s not in my position.”