LIMA – Findlay tried to pack into a zone in hopes of slowing down Lima Senior.
That ploy worked for about the first few minutes of Monday’s Three Rivers Athletic Conference girls basketball game at Lima Senior.
Once Findlay relinquished its early 2-0 lead over Lima Senior, the Spartans put the pedal to the medal and rolled to a convincing 72-34 victory over the Trojans.
Rion Thompson led Lima Senior (17-3, 9-3 TRAC) in scoring, pouring in 26 points, including two 3-pointers. Thompson scored 14 points in the second quarter. Indiya Benjamin nearly pulled off a triple-double, scoring 20 points, dishing out 10 assists and pulling down nine rebounds. Benjamin also made six steals at the defensive end. Essence Cowan added 12 points for the Spartans.
After Findlay (2-18, 2-10 TRAC) started the game with a basket inside the paint by Zoe Swisher, the Spartans then went on a 13-0 run to claim a 13-2 lead. By the end of the first quarter Lima Senior led 13-4. Benjamin scored seven points in the first eight minutes of action.
Findlay struggled shooting in the first quarter, hitting just 1-of-17 from the field.
In the second quarter, Lima Senior got its transition game going.
Thompson got hot from the outside, scoring 14 points on 6-of-8 shooting to help lead Lima Senior to a 39-16 halftime lead.
“We didn’t shoot it real well, early,” Lima Senior coach Vince Halliday said. “It was more of a slower pace, early in the game. I think that was, obviously, Findlay’s game plan. They packed into a 3-2 zone. When they do that and you don’t shoot well early, then it slows the pace down at the offensive end.
“So, we didn’t get to run like we wanted, until toward the end of the first period. In the second quarter, we really got things revved up a little bit. Rion got hot in the second quarter and when you can score in transition, then you don’t have to worry about facing the zone. …They don’t have time to set it up.”
Findlay was 4 of 27 shooting from the floor in the first half. Lima Senior was 15 of 44 in the first half. Thompson and Benjamin combined for 29 points in the first two quarters.
“We struggled hitting some shots, especially in the first half,” Findlay coach Connie Lyon said. “We did have some open looks. We got some great opportunities in the paint, but we just could not knock those down. That’s where you want to build some confidence, especially when you cross the free throw line and get into the lane.”
The Spartans outscored the Trojans 16-10 in the third frame. Lima Senior’s largest lead in the third quarter was 35 points.
Throughout the entire game, Findlay struggled to locate Lima Senior’s shooters.
“They’re very athletic. They’re great athletes,” Lyon said. “When you have that inside/outside game, you have a good point guard and have balance with your shooters, it’s something that any team would like to have.”
Sarah Smarkel led Findlay with seven points. Jenny Vielhaber added six points and five rebounds for the Trojans.
For the game, Lima Senior shot 37 percent from the floor. Findlay shot 23 percent from the field.
“Obviously, Findlay is down this year,” Halliday said. “But it’s a big rivalry game and any time we can beat Findlay, I’m real pleased with it.”