For the first three quarters Friday night, every time Lima Senior built a lead, Sandusky came back and knocked it down.
But in a back-and-forth fourth quarter, as Tyler White scored nine of his team-high 22 points, the Spartans built their final lead of the night and held it for a 79-71 win at Sandusky High School that gave them sole possession of second place in the Greater Buckeye Conference.
"(White) hit some nice pullups, some 17-footers, and we got down a little bit and had to press a little bit, and they were able to get some easy baskets to finish it," Sandusky coach Steve Keller said.
The loss, Sandusky's second straight after it went above .500 on Jan. 28 with a double-overtime win against Napoleon, overshadowed a steller night for post players Donald Williams and Tristen Jeffries. Both combined to score 47 points, and both put the Streaks on their shoulders in the second half, totaling 30 of the 41 points.
"Tristen and Donald did a nice job in the paint. They did a lot of good things. We've just got to try to fire on all cyclinders, and rebound the basketball better," Keller said. "We had some situations where we got stops -- we just gave up second chance points, and when you give up second-chance points the shooting percentage is increased because your closer to the basket."
Williams scored a game-high 26 and Jeffries added 21.
Aside from rebounding, free throws were a thorn in the sides of both squads; The Blue Streaks were 7 of 17 at the foul line -- Lima was only 7 of 14 -- and no other players reached double figures for Sandusky (7-8, 4-3 GBC).
Rarely will a winning team shoot zero fouls shots in the fourth quarter, but still score 26 points and and still win.
"We shoot a lot of free throws in practice. We just have to step up to the line in games and shoot them in games with confidence," Keller said.
In the first quarter, Lima went on a 7-0 run to take an early 9-5 lead. Back-to-back 3-pointers from Delon Roldan-Johnson made it a 16-15 Sandusky lead, and the quarter ended with Lima ahead by a points, 17-16.
In the second and third quarters, the Blue Streaks rallied to keep the game close.
Late in the second, Lima snapped off a 13-3 run for a 37-30 lead. Sandusky had just one field goal in the final four minutes -- a Jeffries bucket with 4 minutes left in the half -- that put the Streaks up 27-24.
Sandusky's 23-point outburst in the third helped it erase a 47-40 hole; A pair of buckets and fouls from Jeffries -- he missed the free throws on both occasions -- and an easy layin from Doc Will on Xavier Turner's pass tied the score at 49-49. The teams ended the third tied at 53-all.
"We did a nice job of making the extra pass, and we got some nice touches in the low block, got some finishes," Keller said of the third-quarter performance. "We were able to execute, and then in the fourth when (Lima) got some baskets, we got into a little bit of a you-score, we-score setting."
The Blue Streaks host Huron (8-6) tonight with a chance to get back to .500. Keller said the team will talk today about Huron, and also focus the things it needs to improve at both ends of the floor.
Kendall Jackson rose above the rim a handful of times to score 15 points for Lima (9-4, 5-1 GBC), Da'Shon Bates added 13 and Deiondray Martin scored 10.
LIMA SENIOR (9-4, 5-1)
Tyler White 9-0--22; Shawn Devon Allen 1-0--3; Deiondray Martin 5-0--10; Da'Shon Bates 5-2--13; Kendall Jackson 7-1--15; Zachary Rumbaugh 0-1--1;Ryan Downton 2-0--4; Adrian Hutchins 2-3--7; Reginald Perkins 2-0--4; TOTALS 33-7--79
SANDUSKY (7-8, 4-3)
Jay Page 2-0--4; Dejour Stovall 1-0--2; Delon Roldan-Johnson 3-0--9; Doc Will 1-0--4; Xavier Turner 2-0--4; Dameyion Smith 1-0--3; Tristen Jeffries 9-3--21; Donald Williams 11-4--26; TOTAL 30-7--71
Lima Senior 17 20 16 26 -- 79
Sandusky 16 14 23 18 -- 71
3-pt FG: (LS) White 4, Allen, Bates; (S) Roldan-Johnson 3, Smith