By DAVE HANNEMAN
Ottawa-Glandorf won a state championship last season.
In a sense, Findlay High was playing for one Saturday night.
“It’s going to be a big game whenever Findlay and Ottawa-Glandorf play,” said senior guard Michael Clark, whose intensity and floor leadership typified Findlay’s 55-36 nonleague win over O-G on Saturday.
“When they play Findlay, it’s one of their biggest games of the year, so we had to make it like our state championship, too, and match their intensity.”
There isn’t a number in the box score to itemize Findlay’s intensity. But the effect was reflected just the same.
Findlay pressured Ottawa-Glandorf into 10 first half turnovers, limited the Titans to 0-for-10 accuracy on 3-pointers and 5 of 20 shooting overall in the first 16 minutes, and took control of the game with an 18-0 burst that stretched from late in the first quarter until late in the second.
Some of O-G’s problems were self-inflicted.
But not all.
“I thought we did a really good job of being active and hustling,” Findlay coach Jim Rucki said after the Trojans improved to 10-2 with their second strong defensive effort of the weekend.
“We didn’t want to allow them to get easy looks inside. And when they kicked it out, they missed some open shots. They did not shoot the ball well, but you like to think we had something to do with that by being active and aggressive and not letting them get comfortable.”
This isn’t the same Ottawa-Glandorf team that beat Findlay 53-43 last season and capped a 26-3 season by beating Versailles 67-46 in the Division III state championship game.
But the school name on the jerseys mean a bit more when these Route 224 rivals get together.
“Last year we went over there and lost to them in a game we thought we could have won,” Clark said. “With them coming over here tonight, we felt it was an opportunity we couldn’t let slip through our hands.”
“This was payback for last year,” said senior post Austin Gutting.
“This whole week we’ve been using last year’s game as fuel, as motivation. We knew if we wanted to get them back we couldn’t lose on our home floor.”
Two Clark steals sparked a 7-0 run that gave Findlay an early 7-2 lead. Matias Trampe-Kindt answered for O-G, though, and Zach Kuhlman capped a 5-0 run with a 3-point play that tied it 9-9 with 3:47 left in the first quarter.
When O-G scored its next basket, it was 11 minutes and an 18-0 Findlay run later.
“Offensively we weren’t good all night but that second quarter, I don’t know,” said O-G coach Tyson McGlaughlin.
“Give Findlay all the credit. They outplayed us and they outcoached us tonight. They really came after us and for whatever reason we kind of backed up. They got a little run, they got a lot of momentum and we didn’t respond.
“They played like a bunch of men and we played like a bunch of boys.”
Gutting scored a basket and Grant McKinniss came off the bench to nail a 3-pointer to end the first period and put Findlay up 13-9.
Gutting scored to open the second period, Grant Niswander and Adam Twining converted three free throws and Nick Kairys fought for a rebound on one end and worked a give-and-go with Twining for a layup on the other as the lead grew to 21-9.
McGlaughlin called a time out hoping to regroup his Titans. But Findlay rattled off six more points before Noah Bramlage, O-G’s 6-foot-7 junior standout, scored on an inbounds play with 44 seconds left in the half.
Findlay opened the game in man-to-man defense, but stymied the Titans with a 1-3-1 zone in the second quarter when O-G’s first nine shots were all 3-pointers. None of them connected.
“We always preach we go inside out. But they pushed us out with that zone and it really flustered us tonight,” McGlaughlin said.
“They were very active in it, they were very physical and Twining playing at the top of it eliminated a lot of our penetration.
“That’s my fault as a coach because we weren’t prepared to attack that 1-3-1 like we should have.”
“Adam did a great job in our man (defense) on Bramlage and a great job at the top of that zone keeping them on their heels and keeping them from attacking,” Rucki said.
“We didn’t plan on playing as much zone as we did, but we were doing a pretty good job so we stuck with it.”
Twining also led Findlay in scoring (14 points) and rebounding (7). McKinniss finished with 11 points and Braden Miller and Gutting had eight each. Findlay committed just seven turnovers, had a 29-28 edge on the boards, and did a good job of getting to the line, converting 19 of 27 free throws to O-G’s 6 of 8 effort from the line.
Clark finished with five points, to go with four steals, four rebounds and four assists.
“We know we can be a good team when we play as hard as we did tonight and when we do all the little things right,” Clark said.
“Those little things really do add up.”
Cody Alt, a 6-3 senior who has seen limited action this season following a knee injury, continued his comeback with a team-high eight points for O-G (7-4). Bramlage added seven points and seven rebounds for the Titans, whose 14 for 41 shooting night included a 2 for 20 mark on 3-pointers.
Though Ottawa-Glandorf left town, Rucki is hoping the intensity he saw on Saturday remains, especially with the Trojans (10-2, 5-1 TRAC) hosting Toledo Central Catholic (8-2, 4-1 TRAC) in a key Three Rivers Athletic Conference matchup on Friday.
“We competed hard tonight. We just need to be more consistent doing that,” Rucki said.
“We played hard, we played with enthusiasm, everybody contributed … I think that’s what we needed to be ready for next week. This was good preparation for that.”
In a roller-coaster matchup on unbeaten junior varsity teams, Ottawa-Glandorf improved to 11-0 and handed Findlay (11-1) its first loss, 47-35. Trey Buford led Findlay’s reserves with 11 points. Jordan Verhoff had 12 points and Nick Weihrauch nine for O-G.
A. Schroeder 1-7 0-0 2, Trampe-Kindt 2-4 2-2 6, Kuhlman 2-8 1-1 5, Zender 0-1 0-0 0, Bramlage 2-8 3-4 7, Recker 1-4 0-0 2, Alt 4-4 0-0 8, Blevins 0-0 0-0 0, Unterbrink 1-2 0-0 3, Schnipke 0-0 0-0 0, Wischmeyer 0-1 0-0 0, T. Schroeder 1-2 0-0 3, Osting 0-0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 14-41 6-8–36.
B. Miller 2-2 3-4 8, Clark 2-6 0-1 5, Twining 4-10 6-7 14, Gutting 3-5 2-5 8, Niswander 0-2 3-4 3, Gobrecht 0-1 4-4 4, McKinniss 4-7 1-2 11, Kairys 1-1 0-0 2, C. Miller 0-1 0-0 0, Nunn 0-1 0-0 0, Hammond 0-0 0-0 0, Buford 0-0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 16-36 19-27–55.
Ottawa-Glandorf 9 2 11 14 — 36
Findlay 14 15 16 10 — 55
3-Point GOALS: Findlay 4-12 (B. Miller 1-1, Nuiswander 0-2, Clark 1-3, Twining 0-1, McKinniss 2-5); Ottawa-Glandorf 2-20 (A. Schroeder 0-5, Unterbrink 1-2, Wiscmeyer 0-1, Trampe-Kindt 0-1, Kuhlman 0-3, Recker 0-2, Bramalge 0-4, T. Schroeder 1-2).
REBOUNDS: Findlay 29 (Twining 7, Clark 4); Ottawa-Glandorf 28 (Bramlage 7, Kuhlman 5).
TURNOVERS: Findlay 7, Ottawa-Glandorf 13.
junior varsity: Ottawa-Glandorf, 47-35.
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