LIMA — Saturday’s cross-city showdown between Lima Senior and Shawnee was built up to be just that – a showdown.
The game definitely lived up to its billing.
Shawnee staved off Lima Senior down the stretch to record a hard-fought 71-65 victory over the Spartans in a nonconference boys basketball game at Lima Senior Saturday night.
George Mangas led Shawnee (20-1) and all scorers with 40 points, including two 3-pointers. Mangas also had six rebounds and four steals. Austin Miller and Tyson Elwer each added nine points for the Indians.
Mangas, last year’s Division II Player of the Year, came into Saturday’s contest averaging 32.1 points per game.
In the latest Associated Press boys state poll, Shawnee was ranked No. 2 in Division II.
Jareon Mayo led Lima Senior (16-4) with 14 points, including four 3-pointers. Quan Moore had 13 points, including three treys. Anthony Mosely had 10 points and 10 rebounds. Jourdyn Rawlins had nine points and six assists for the Spartans.
“We had way too many turnovers,” Shawnee head coach Mark Triplett said. “Also, we got one shot, and they got a lot more than one shot tonight. I thought they (Lima Senior) shot terrific from 3-point range. I think we had them 10 of 21 (shooting on 3-pointers).
“We didn’t shoot well from the free throw line. But what I was proud about with the guys, was that they found a way. More times than not, that’s what they’ve been able to do. They rally around each other. We had some guys that I think were disappointed on how they played tonight. But despite that – taking Lima Senior’s best shot – they rallied and found a way to get it done. I’m really proud of them.”
Lima Senior jumped out to a 4-0 lead to start the game.
The Spartans led the entire first quarter.
However, Shawnee cut it to 2, 16-14, by the first stop.
Mayo hit three 3-pointers in the first quarter to help lead the Spartans.
Shawnee turned the ball over six times in the first stanza. For the game, the Indians turned the ball over 18 times. The Spartans turned it over 15 times.
The Indians recorded their first lead on the night, 17-16, less than 30 seconds into the second quarter on a 3-pointer by Toby Freiberger (seven points), his second trey of the game.
The Spartans battled right back.
At the 4:54 mark of the second, Camren Miles (four points) scored inside to give Lima Senior a 23-21 lead.
The Indians, behind the scoring of Mangas, outscored the Spartans 15-6 to close out the half, and go into the halftime break with a 36-29 lead.
Mangas had a big second quarter, as he pumped in 12 points. Mangas ended the half with 18 points and three steals.
Shawnee was 14 of 27 shooting from the field in the first half for 52 percent.
Mayo led Lima Senior in the first half with 12 points, on four 3-pointers.
Lima Senior was 10 of 30 from the floor in the first 16 minutes for 33-percent shooting.
At the 3:31 mark of the third, Travis Bullock (eight points) recorded an old-fashion 3-point play to knot the game at 46.
The score was knotted at 53 at the end of three.
The Spartans shot well from the outside in the third. Moore had two 3-pointers, while Rawlins connected once behind the 3-point line to pace Lima Senior.
The Spartans were 9 of 15 from the field in the third stanza.
For the game, Shawnee shot 54 percent from the field. Lima Senior countered with 42-percent shooting from the floor.
Triplett points to his team’s cohesiveness as one of the keys to this season’s success.
“I think that’s what makes this group special; because when push comes to shove, they know they can lean and can rely on each other,” Triplett said. “Even the guys who don’t play a ton of minutes for us, they are engaged and into every play. It’s a special group. These are the games that you need. It’s fun to go out and challenge yourself in this kind of atmosphere.”
Triplett feels like the win over Lima Senior was an excellent game for his team, right before entering the postseason tournament this coming week.
“We knew Lima Senior was going to be a great test for us,” Triplett said. “I’m sure they’re going to make a good tournament run. I’m really proud of our kids tonight.”
Reach The Lima News sports department at 567-242-0451.