LIMA — Lima Mayor David Berger is a believer.
He believes the Lima Senior Spartans and the Lima Central Catholic Thunderbirds are both going to return from Columbus carrying state championship trophies.
He also believes both teams will be mighty hungry following their accomplishments.
That’s why it didn’t take much prodding for Berger to make a friendly wager with his fellow Ohio mayors in Wilmington and St. Bernard. As Berger likes to say, he knows a sure bet when he sees one.
And the way Berger sees it, both Lima teams will be treated to meals at the Kewpee, courtesy of Wilmington Mayor John Stanforth and St. Bernard Mayor John Estep. Of course, if Berger’s wrong, he’ll be buying the Wilmington team lunch at Beaugard’s Bar “B” Que and treating the Roger Bacon team to lunch at JuJu Beans.
“I am looking forward to both our Lima teams having Kewpee feasts,” Berger said.
Not so fast, countered Stanforth, as he sounded the cheers for Wilmington.
“I feel really sorry for Lima because they’re going to lose, and for Mayor Berger, because our team has a tremendous appetite,” Stanforth said.
The instigator behind the bet was Pamela Stricker, who prior to being named publisher of The Lima News in June was publisher of the Wilmington News Journal for 14 years. Lima Senior enters the game against Wilmington rated No. 2 in Division I, while Wilmington is No. 3. The No. 1 team, Huber Heights, was upset earlier in the tournament.
“My thanks to Pam for suggesting a friendly wager between her former hometown (Wilmington) mayor and me, her new hometown mayor. It was natural then to extend a similar offer to the Mayor Estep of St. Bernard,” Berger said.
Estep is doing everything in his mayoral powers to help propel Roger Bacon, including planning a downtown pep rally. Past history has him feeling confident.
“We know what an uphill battle we have on our hands, but Roger Bacon is St. Bernard tough. Remember, they have taken down LeBron James in the past,” Estep noted, pointing to Roger Bacon’s stunning 71-63 victory over Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary in 2002, James’ junior year in high school.
LCC (26-1) will play Roger Bacon (21-7) at 2 p.m. Thursday in the Division III semifinals. If LCC wins, it will play in the championship game at 10:45 a.m. Saturday against the winner of Lynchburg-Clay (25-2) and Cleveland Villa Angela-St. Joseph (22-5).
Lima Senior (28-0) will meet Wilmington (27-1) at 5:15 p.m. Friday in the Division I semifinals. If Lima Senior wins, it will play in the championship game at 8:30 p.m. Saturday against the winner of Garfield Heights (23-4) and Westerville South (24-4).
All games will be played at Ohio State’s Value City Arena in Columbus. Tickets are available at either school and can be purchased at the door.