LIMA – The first game of the basketball season is usually a good barometer for a coach. Tuesday’s 57-41 victory for Lima Senior over visiting Wapakoneta, certainly gave Lima Senior boys’ coach Shawn Allen a good idea of what’s to come.
Lima Senior (1-0) got off to a quick start, pressuring Wapakoneta’s ball handlers from end-to-end, en route to the non-conference win.
With the loss, Wapakoneta is 0-3.
The Spartans jumped out to an 8-0 lead to start the game and never looked back.
Brady Allen and Jay Thomas led Lima Senior with 13 points each. Allen poured in four 3-pointers, while Thomas scored 10 of his points in the second half. Thomas also had two steals and a block.
Rico Stafford, a 6-foot-4 sophomore wing for the Spartans, scored 11 points, had four rebounds and two steals.
Lima Senior’s defensive pressure helped cause 17 Wapakoneta turnovers, 11 of those coming in the first half. The Spartans, on the other hand, committed 10 turnovers on the night.
“I thought that in the second quarter, we did a better job (defensively),” Allen said. “We sped them up. We got after them in full-court, a little bit more. (In the) first game, you’re going to have mistakes. I thought we did a lot of good things, but we have a lot of things that we have to correct. Sometimes I forget they’re young.”
Lima Senior led 15-12 after one quarter. The Spartans then pulled out to a 29-18 lead by the halftime break. Stafford led the charge for Lima Senior in the first half, scoring eight points and pulling down five rebounds.
In the second half, Lima Senior’s biggest lead was 23 points. However, the Redskins kept battling back in the fourth quarter, cutting the deficit to 16.
“I’m not disappointed at all,” first-year Wapakoneta coach Doug Selvey said. “I mean, we want to win of course, but right now we’re trying to replace a few key players from last season and it will take some time. We have a lot of players playing varsity for the first time.”
For the game, Lima Senior shot 44 percent from the field. Wapakoneta made 38 percent of its field goal attempts.
Keaton Metz led Wapakoneta with nine points, including one 3-pointer. Kodi Morgan added eight points, which included two shots behind the arc. Morgan also made three steals at the defensive end.
The Spartans won the battle on the boards, 35-27. At the free throw line, Lima Senior made just 4-of-13. Wapakoneta connected on 3-of-4 from the charity stripe – all in the second half.
“We had some guys play well,” Allen said. “I thought Brady (Allen, the coach’s son) shot really well. Jay (Thomas) got it going a little bit in the second half. We just have to be able to finish those shots. We had a bunch of shots down low that we missed. But, it’s the first game. We’ll get better.”