LIMA – Slow starts have become a trend for the Lima Senior boys’ basketball team.
Tuesday’s Three Rivers Athletic Conference matchup with visiting Toledo Central Catholic was a prime example.
Central Catholic jumped out to a 23-5 lead by the end of the first quarter and withstood a Lima Senior run in the second half, for a 70-61 victory over the Spartans. Turnovers plagued the Spartans as they committed 10 in the first stanza.
Tuesday’s game was the first of the season for Central Catholic, thanks to the postseason playoff run by the football team.
Nine players cracked the scoring column for the Fighting Irish. Jermiah Braswell led the way with 16 points, including two 3-pointers. Nathaniel Harris and Marcus Winters each added 11 for Central Catholic.
Lima Senior’s Jay Thomas led all scorers with 17 points, including five 3-pointers. Rico Stafford scored 11 points and had five rebounds and three assists for the Spartans (1-3).
The Spartans were down 47-27 at the halftime break and trailed 61-40 at the end of the third quarter. However, Lima Senior made a run in the fourth quarter, outscoring the Fighting Irish 21-9 in the final eight minutes of action.
“We fought harder tonight than we did over the weekend. So, that’s a good thing,” Lima Senior coach Shawn Allen said. “But, the three games in a row that we lost, we got down big in the first quarter. When you don’t score a lot, you can’t get down big in the first quarter.”
Lima Senior recovered after the first quarter and ended the game, shooting 48 percent from the field. Central Catholic also shot 48 percent from the floor.
The Spartans ended the game with 21 turnovers, while the Fighting Irish turned it over 12 times.
“I thought Demontay Liles came in and ran the point for us and gave us the boost we needed,” Allen said. “I think once we get that, then we can let Jay (Thomas) and Brady (Allen, seven points) shoot a little bit and we can let Rico (Stafford) run around a little bit more. We did some good things in the second half, but we have to find that point guard. I thought Demontay did a good job for us.”
For Central Catholic, it’s only been a week since the entire team assembled at the same time.
“Some of these guys who went deep into the playoffs, they don’t have endurance,” Central Catholic coach Jim Welling said. “If you’re a basketball player and play 12 months out of the year, you can go a 32-minute game and not get fatigued. So, we have a lot of work ahead of us.”