By DAVE HANNEMAN
TOLEDO — The seniors on the Toledo St. Francis basketball team went home with a win Saturday night.
And they can thank a sophomore for it.
Sebastian McClellan, a skinny 6-foot sophomore junior varsity player who expected to be a spectator for the varsity game, bombed in a 3-pointer with a minute on the clock to seal the Knights’ 44-35 win over Findlay in a Three Rivers Athletic Conference game at St. Francis.
“We’d had some open looks and didn’t take them. I was thinking, ‘Don’t get gun shy on me now,'” St. Francis coach Travis Lewis said. “Then, with us up by two, he takes the shot and I thought, ‘Nooooooo …’ and he makes it. That kind of sealed the game for us.”
In a game dominated by defense and underscored by intensity, Findlay battled back from a 33-26 deficit, taking a 35-33 lead when Jacob Logsdon, known more for his 3-point shooting than his inside play, tipped in a missed 3-pointer with 3:25 on the clock.
Jackie Harris, a 6-6 junior who led St. Francis with 15 points, tied it when he got a height advantage on a defensive switch and scored with 3:00 left. Harris broke the tie with 1:48 on the clock, and McClellan iced the game with his ice-in-his-veins 3-pointer.
St. Francis, trailing only state-ranked Toledo St. John’s in the TRAC standings, improved to 16-4 overall, 10-2 in the TRAC. Findlay had a three-game winning streak halted and dropped to 11-8, 5-6 in the league.
On Senior Night at St. Francis, Findlay was looking to avenge a 59-47 loss to the Knights in late December. For a time, it looked like the Trojans might get it, but an off night from the foul line (4 of 11) and costly turnovers were too much to overcome.
“Before the game we talked about doing two things: competing really hard and battling, and trying to minimize mistakes. We did pretty well with one of those things, but not the other,” said Findlay High School coach Jim Rucki.
“We put ourselves in a position, but there were a couple of times where we just needed to make a play to get over the hump and we couldn’t finish it.”
Logsdon led Findlay with 14 points. Ryan Nunn had 12. Isaac Schumm grabbed nine rebounds, Adam Gutting seven and Nunn five to help Findlay take a 33-29 edge on the boards.
Defensively, Findlay held St. Francis to its second lowest offensive night of the season. But St. Francis was doing the same to Findlay, which scored fewer than 35 points only in a Dec. 8 loss to Toledo Whitmer.,
“I feel defense is the anchor for our team,” Lewis said. “We know there are going to be nights when we are inconsistent offensively. We did not shoot the ball particularly well (16 of 46, 36 percent) tonight, but every night we can hustle and have an energy and a defensive attitude that is second to none.”
Fueled by Harris’s six second-quarter points, St. Francis turned a 12-9 deficit into a 22-17 lead and led by seven (33-26) when Tayler McNeal ended the third quarter with a 3-pointer and Drew Swerlein opened the fourth with a steal and lay-up.
Logsdon nailed a 3-pointer, though, Nunn hit a pull-up jumper in the lane, and Schumm got his own rebound and scored, tying the game 33-33 with 4:19 to play. Logsdon then snuck in amid the tall timber to tip in a miss and put Findlay ahead, but the Trojans failed to score another point in the final 3:25.
Findlay returns to Toledo on Tuesday when the Trojans take on Toledo Central Catholic in another TRAC matchup.
“I did not think we played real hard on Tuesday (a TRAC win over Fremont Ross),” Rucki said. “The difference tonight was obvious. It’s tough going against really aggressive, strong defensive teams, but that’s who we face.
“I was really happy with our effort, our toughness, our competitiveness. That’s the way we have to play every night. If we do, we’ll always have a chance to be in the game.”
St. Francis blitzed Findlay 24-6 in the second quarter and went on to win the junior varsity contest 62-44. A.J. Adams had 12 points for the Trojans (14-5, 8-3 TRAC).
FINDLAY (11-8, 5-6 TRAC)
Logsdon 5-15 0-1 14, Roth 1-6 0-0 3, Nunn 5-10 2-4 12, Gutting 0-1 0-3 0, Schumm 2-4 2-2 6, McCormick 0-1 0-0 0, Stillings 0-0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 13-37 4-1–35.
TOLEDO ST. FRANCIS (16-4, 10-2 TRAC)
McNeal 1-9 0-0 3, Swerlien 3-8 1-3 8, Zepp 0-0 0-1 0, Ansara 0-0 0-3 0, Gallagher 1-1 0-0 3, Wells 3-6 3-4 9, Harris 6-12 2-2 15, Sonnenberg 0-1 0-0 0, Moran 0-0 1-3 3, Crumbly 0-1 0-0 0, McClellan 1-1 0-0 3. TOTALS :16-46 6-10–44
Findlay 12 8 6 9–35
Toledo St. Francis 1113713–44
3-POINT GOALS: Findlay 5-20 (Logsdon 4-11, Roth 1-6, Nunn 0-2, Schumm 0-1); Toledo St. Francis 6-23 (McNeal 1-6, Wells 0-1, Swerlkein 1-5, Ansara 0-3, Harris 1-2, Crumbly 0-1, McClellan 1-1, Moran 1-3, Gallagher 1-1).
REBOUNDS: Findlay 33 (Schumm 9, Gutting 7, Nunn 5); Toledo St. Francis 29 (Harris 6).
TURNOVERS: Findlay 12, Toledo St. Francis 8.
JUNIOR VARSITY: Toledo St. Francis, 62-44.