By ANDREW WILLIAMS
Call it youthful exuberance.
Call it taking what the defense gives you.
However you want to characterize it, the formula was effective for Lima Senior.
The sophomore duo of Caterrion Thompson and Essence Cowan combined for 46 points and 13 rebounds Thursday night as the Spartans mauled Findlay 89-46 in Three Rivers Athletic Conference action.
Thompson netted 10 points in the first quarter as Lima Senior (9-2 overall, 3-2 TRAC) was able to pressure Findlay into seven turnovers and the Spartans built a 21-10 lead.
Cowan got in on the act in the second quarter, as she and Thompson combined for 18 of Lima Senior’s 24 points in the period. Nine more Findlay turnovers helped fuel the burst before the break to give the Spartans a 45-21 advantage at halftime.
Lima Senior coach Vince Halliday said he was pleased with the amount of success his team had on the offensive end of the floor in the first half despite his senior point guard Indiya Benjamin only scoring two points.
“Rion (Thompson) was on fire early,” Halliday said. “Essence (Cowan) made some jumpers early. That really helps.
“When you shoot the ball well, which we did early, then you can press. When you can press, you turn people over and we did that real well early. Everything for us offensively is predicated on us playing defense and turning people over or getting a defensive rebound and pushing the basketball. Fortunately enough, we rebounded pretty well today and we shot real well early.”
Findlay (1-9, 1-4 TRAC) had trouble defending Lima Senior and executing offensively for most of the game, but particularly in the first half. The Trojans committed 16 turnovers and shot just 8 of 24 (33 percent) from the field, while allowing the Spartans to hit 9 of 17 (53 percent) from inside the arc and forcing only five turnovers.
“They had shooters in the corners and did a great job of hitting shots,” Findlay coach Connie Lyon said. “… You’ve got to credit Lima Senior. They utilized their strengths and got down the floor quickly and converted on some turnovers as well.
“The turnovers are going to hurt you when they can convert on it easily and especially when you’re not sprinting back to get there and cover the basket.”
The Trojans showed signs of life at the beginning of the third quarter, running off a 7-2 run over the first two minutes of the half on baskets by Joslyn Bendt and Allison Taylor and a 3-pointer from Sarah Smarkel that forced Lima Senior to call a timeout.
The momentum was short-lived though, as the Spartans outscored the Trojans 25-7 the rest of the third quarter to increase the margin to 72-35.
“I was pleased with, we had a short stretch in the third quarter where we made a run but just couldn’t sustain that,” Lyon said.
“In the second half we did a better job but obviously you’ve got to get it in the half court. The whole key of the game is us just doing a better job being strong with the ball and again, running your assignments and taking care of the ball.”
Thompson finished with a game-high 27 points, including 23 in the first half, while Cowan had 19 points and eight rebounds and Benjamin added 16 points and 12 assists for Lima Senior.
“We share the ball real well,” Halliday said. “… Everything (Thompson) got was in the flow of what we play. She shot the ball real well in the first half and we took advantage of it.
“I’m real pleased. That’s a pretty solid effort for us consistently-wise. … It was 30 really good minutes of basketball.”
Findlay was led by Sarah Thomas’ 14 points, Smarkel contributed eight points and Bendt grabbed a team-high five boards.
LIMA SENIOR (9-2, 3-2 TRAC)
Wireman 0-0–0, Johnson 0-0–0, Wilson 0-0–0, Benjamin 7-0–16, Houston 0-1–1, Ward 1-0–3, Thompson 10-2–27, Cowan 7-2–19, Haynes 4-1–9, James 3-2–8, Marable 0-0–0, Upthegrove 3-0–6. TOTALS: 35-68 8-12 — 89.
FINDLAY (1-9, 1-4)
Swisher 1-2–4, Blatnik 0-0–0, Bendt 2-0–4, Smarkel 3-1–8, Hardesty 2-0–4, S. Wintrow 1-0–3, M. Wintrow 0-0–0, Thomas 5-0–14, E. Miller 0-0–0, Vielhaber 2-3–7, K. Miller 0-0–0, Taylor 1-0–2, Lawson 0-0–0. TOTALS: 17-49 6-10 — 46.
Lima Senior 21 24 27 17 — 89
Findlay 10 11 14 11 — 46
3-Point GOALS: Lima Senior 11-26 (Thompson 5, Cowan 3, Benjamin 2, Ward); Findlay 6-15 (Thomas 4, Smarkel, S. Wintrow).
rebounds: Lima Senior 34 (Cowan & Haynes 8); Findlay 24 (Bendt 5).
turnovers: Lima Senior 10; Findlay 29.
junior varsity: Findlay, 48-36.
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