By DAVE HANNEMAN
LIMA — Jim Rucki was hoping for some balance from his Findlay High boys basketball team over the weekend.
He just didn’t know the Trojans would have to go to such extreme lengths to get it.
One night after its worst shooting night of the season, Findlay came through with one of its best, scorching the nets at a 71-percent clip in chalking up a 71-48 win over Lima Shawnee in the annual nonleague matchup between the two schools.
“Somebody told me that after shooting 20 percent last night (in a 40-32 loss to Toledo St. Francis), we’d have to shoot 80 percent tonight. We almost did that,” Rucki said after Findlay went 1-1 over the weekend and improved to 13-4 on the season.
Findlay made 30 of 42 shots overall. The Trojans converted 25 of 28 2-point attempts (89 percent) behind strong inside play from senior post Austin Gutting and senior forward Adam Twining, transition layups created by an opportunistic defense, and a crisp passing game that continually found the open man, resulting in 14 assists on Findlay’s 14 first-half baskets. Senior point guard Michael Clark had eight assists, Grant Niswander six and Twining five.
Findlay scored 12 of the game’s first 14 points, bumped it to 18-4 on Gutting’s 3-point play and a 3-pointer by Braden Miller, and pushed the lead to 24-9 on Niswander’s jumper and back-to-back baskets by Twining.
A rash of Findlay turnovers allowed Shawnee to earn back some momentum with a 7-0 run. But the Trojans, victimized by a similar slump on Friday, this time regrouped, rebounded and renewed the assault, ending the first half with a 9-3 burst and opening the second with 13-4 rally that doubled the lead to 46-23.
Twining had a team-leading double-double of 20 points and 11 rebounds. Gutting scored 19 points and grabbed six rebounds and Miller, a 5-foot-9 senior guard known more for his defense and rebounding, had a season-high 10 points.
Trey Brock scored 12 points and JaQuan Tucker and Jaden O’Neal had nine each for Shawnee, which dropped its fifth straight games and fell to 5-12.
Saturday’s win ended a two-game road swing for Findlay, which returns home this week for two Three Rivers Athletic Conference games. The Trojans will host Lima Senior on Tuesday and league-leading Toledo St. John’s on Friday.
Lima Senior won four of five games, including a 62-53 Three Rivers Athletic Conference win over Fremont Ross on Friday, to improve to 6-7 on the season, then suffered a 60-58 loss to Van Wert on Saturday.
“That (the loss to Van Wert) surprised me because Lima Senior had been playing very well,” Rucki said. “They were playing much better and had some nice wins in there. But I saw they were something like 15 of 30 from the line (against Van Wert). That’s the same thing that happened to us against St. Francis. Our shooting was horrible.
“These teams are solid, they have good athletes and it just shows if you don’t come ready to play and you don’t shoot the ball well, you’re going to have a tough time of it.”
LIMA SHAWNEE (5-12)
Tucker 4-0–9, Vernon 0-1–1, Brock 4-2–12, O’Neal 2-4–9, Fox 3-0–6, Gaffer 2-0–5, Roberts 1-0–2, Brown 1-2–4, Brachok 0-0–0, Hites 0-0–0. TOTALS: 17-8 — 48.
B. Miller 4-0–10, Niswander 3-0–6, Clark 2-0–4, Twining 8-2–20, Gutting 8-3–19, McKinniss 2-1–6, Gobrecht 2-0–4, Kairys 1-0–2, Buford 0-0–0, Nunn 0-0–0, Hammond 0-0–0. TOTALS: 28-6 — 71.
Lima Shawnee 6 13 8 21 — 48
Findlay 18 15 20 18 — 71
3-Point GOALS: Lima Shawnee 5 (Brock 2, Tucker, O’Neal & Gaffer); Findlay 5 (B. Miller & Twining 2, McKinniss).
junior varsity: Findlay, 64-37.
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