Jan. 24—LIMA — Lima Senior hit six 3-pointers in the first six minutes against Shawnee on Tuesday night but the turning point of the Spartans' 77-56 boys basketball win was when their inside game began operating at near-peak efficiency in the second half.
Lima Senior (7-6) turned a five-point halftime lead into a 17-point advantage after three quarters and added to its lead in the final quarter.
Coach Quincey Simpson's message to the Spartans at halftime focused on getting to the rim and taking higher percentage shots.
"We made some early threes. When that happens our kids want to continue to shoot threes. But percentages don't allow you to keep making those threes. So we came in at halftime and said, 'We're a good shooting team but let's drive the ball, let's get the ball to the high percentage areas and let's try to get to the foul line," Simpson said. "I thought we did a better job of that in the second half."
Junior guard Isaiah Wilson, who led Lima Senior with 18 points, said, "In the second half we came out with more energy. We started playing faster and sped them up and that led to turnovers and we were able to push the ball and get to the rim more. In the first half, we were forcing too many threes. Q sat us down and told us we had to get to the rim more and that's what we did."
The Spartans also were more efficient at keeping Shawnee away from the rim in the second half. Shawnee missed its first 11 shots in the third quarter and made just 4 of 20 shots in the final two quarters.
Jagger Hutchins scored 16 points, Shawn Foster had 16 points and Jaeveon Walton scored 13 points for Lima Senior.
Shawnee played a box-and-one defense on Foster, a freshman guard, with a defender following him wherever he went.
But he seemed unfazed by it, especially as the game went on. He took only four shots in the first half but put up nine of them in the second half and had three dunks.
"I think he was a little frustrated early on. Anytime you have a player of his caliber, like I told him at halftime, you're going to see a lot of these junk defenses throughout your career. I thought he handled it well," Simpson said.
"I thought we put some pieces together defensively and offensively. We knew anytime you play a team in Lima there's going to be some stretches in the game where they play well and they're going to give us a good punch. They did that.
"But I thought in the second half our guys made plays defensively. We demonstrated a lot more aggressiveness. We were a little bit more patient offensively and I thought that was the difference in the game," he said.
Wilson said, "We had to fight their screens more and make the shots tougher for them. The first half we weren't fighting their screens and they were getting open looks."
Beckett Bertke led Shawnee (9-5) with 19 points and Nick Pasion scored 13 points.
Shawnee coach Mark Triplett said, "Lack of offensive flow for us led to some easy scoring opportunities for them. When you get in a track meet like that with them it's not going to end well for you. They got their transition game going and hit a lot of shots."
Score by quarters
Shawnee 16 15 12 13 — 56
Lima Senior 23 13 24 17 — 77
Beckett Bertke 19, Dominic Lynch 8, Alex Goldsberry 4, Nick Pasion 13, Trevick Bertke 4, Tate Bender 8. Totals: 15-22-56.
Dashad Greer 4, Jagger Hutchins 16, Jaeveon Walton 13, Isaiah Wilson 18, Shawn Foster 16, Noah Simpson 5, Kaden Hampton 6. Totals: 29-7-77.
3-point goals: S— Pasion 3, B. Bertke 1; LS — Hutchins 3, Wilson 2, Foster 2, Hampton 2, Walton 1, Simpson 1.
Records: Lima Senior 7-6; Shawnee 9-5.