Home, sweet, home.
After having not played a game on its home court in a month, Lima senior returned to post a 72-62 win over Toledo Whitmer in a Three Rivers Athletic Conference affair Friday.
And while Spartan head coach Quincey Simpson was pleased with garnering the win, he was not a happy camper on how the team allowed the Panthers to make a late second half run to make the game close.
Going into the second half, Lima Senior, led by its smothering defense, owned a sizable 43-25 lead and appeared poised for another blowout like its two previous contest in which the Spartans won by 30-plus points.
However, Whitmer had other plans and rallied to outscore the Spartans 23-12 in the third period to slice the lead to seven, 55-48 going into the final eight minutes and the Panthers were within six points, 66-60 with 3:53 left in the game.
But the Spartan clamp-down defense returned in crunch time and allowed two points in the final minutes to secure the Lima Senior win.
Lima Senior, winners of three straight improve to 12-2 on the season and remain unbeaten in the TRAC at 4-0. Whitmer slips to 2-8 on the year and 1-3 in conference action.
“In the second half we let our foot off the gas,” Simpson said. “There was no particular reason. I am good friends with (Toledo) coach Stacey and I am not here to embarrass anyone but you have to give his team credit. They didn’t lay down and they made some plays getting back on transition in the second half defensively and at the end of the day we just wanted to finish the game the same way we finished the game and I thought we did that.”
Simpson added that he understands that it is hard to get motivated when you are up by such as wide margin, however, it showed his squad that they cannot let up.
“We didn’t press at all and our defense generates our offense so I thought we were fine. It was good for those guys to get punched in the face a little bit with some adversity but they were able to finish it out.”
Offensively, the Spartans utilized transition defensive buckets and 3-pointers to score points. For the game, the Spartans hit 10 3-pointers.
Khalil Luster, who hit four treys, led the team with 20 points and Jareon Mayo added 17 points. Ant Moseley chipped in 12 points.
“We are pretty confident with all our guys shooting the ball,” Simpson said. “We want Ant Moseley to shoot more three’s because guys can make shots and spend quality time in the gym. It is good to see Jareon Mayo make some shots because he has been struggling a little bit.”
While the defense had a let down in the second half one player who remains relentless on the defensive end is Jourdyn Rawlins. The senior scored five points but recorded seven steals on the night and was instrumental in giving the Spartans the lead as well as preserving it. He also grabbed six rebounds.
“He is probably the best defender on the ball in the state,” Simpson said. “He thrives playing defense. He doesn’t worry about scoring but he is tenacious on defense.”
For Whitmer, Jordan Phenix finished with 19 points and Maurice Purley scored 17 points.