By DAVE HANNEMAN
The number 224 is a handy reference to the state route rivalry between Findlay and Ottawa-Glandorf.
At times Saturday night, it looked like an over/under prediction.
Findlay pumped in 32 points in the first 13 minutes of the game, but O-G poured in 43 in the second half in outlasting the Trojans 78-69 in a high-scoring nonleague battle between the Route 224 rivals.
“Any time you can come to Findlay and get a win, that’s a great win,” said O-G coach Tyson McGlaughlin.
“We knew this would be a great test for us because Findlay is such a good team and so well coached. They have really good guards who can shoot the ball. So to be able to win a big game, and be able to do it on the road, that tests your mettle. That tests what you’re made of and hopefully this is something we can build on.”
What O-G, ranked No. 4 among Ohio’s Division III teams, has built so far this season is pretty impressive. The Titans, who returned all but one player from last year’s 21-3 team, improved this season’s unbeaten record to 11-0 and ran their regular-season winning streak to 19 games.
All of those veteran players have a good memory as well, including a 65-51 loss Findlay hung on the Titans at Robert J. Hermiller Gymnasium a year ago.
“Last year did not go the way we wanted it to or expected it to,” said Jay Kaufman, O-G’s returning second-team all-Ohio forward who pumped in 25 points Saturday.
“That was a little added factor tonight. We were definitely ready to go this year.”
“We’ve got guys with experience. They’ve been there and they remember getting beat by 14 at our place last year,” McGlaughlin said. “I think that might have added a bit of fuel to the fire tonight.”
Kaufman got O-G going in the second quarter when he scored 14 of his game-high 25 points. Nine of those points came in the final 3:14 of the half when O-G used an 11-2 surge to take a 35-34 edge into the locker room.
It was that kind of finish that typified a back-and-forth battle highlighted by clutch shots, clutch plays and players from both teams stepping up at key moments.
“Both teams played extremely hard. Both teams shot the ball extremely well,” McGlaughlin said.
“I thought our guys weathered the storm a couple of times. We found a way to scratch and claw and do the little things we needed to do to pull it out.
“It was a great game for anybody coming to watch.”
Findlay, which had won six of its last seven games coming into Saturday’s matchup, fell to 7-4 overall. But like an underdog on an undercard, the Trojans kept plugging away, especially during a frantic third quarter that had featured four ties and six lead changes.
Findlay’s Ryan Roth, who bombed in six 3-pointers in the first half, managed just two free throws in the third quarter. But Jacob Logsdon came through with eight points, Adam Gutting five and Ryan Nunn four as Findlay went up 43-42 on Gutting’s power move, 49-48 when Isaac Schumm tipped in a miss, and 53-52 on Logsdon’s fourth basket of the period.
O-G was getting some clutch play as well.
After his 14-point second quarter, Kaufman was held to a 3-pointer and one free throw in the third. But junior point guard Owen Hiegel pumped in seven points, Ethan White knocked down two 3-pointers and Richie Knowlton added another as the lead flipped from one side of the scoreboard to the other almost every trip down the floor.
O-G tried to pull away early in the fourth quarter. But Logsdon tied it 60-60 with a 3-pointer, and two baskets by Gutting kept Findlay just down a point on two occasions.
Hiegel then came up big for O-G.
After Kaufman’s short bank shot gave the Titans a three-point edge (67-64), Hiegel scored on a drive, then stole the ball and scored again.
Nunn answered by hitting a 3-pointer for Findlay, but White matched that with a ‘3’ of his own, Kaufman powered inside for a lay-in and B.J. Fortman converted two free throws, pushing the margin to 11 points (78-67) with under a minute to play.
“Hiegel really hurt us in the second half. We did not do a good job of helping on him or communicating,” said Findlay High coach Jim Rucki.
“They shot the ball really well. We did not shoot that bad (28-46, 61 percent), but they got more production around the basket and did a better job of getting to the line and making free throws.”
Hiegel added 19 points and White finished with 17 for O-G. Kaufman grabbed seven rebounds and Jake Dible and Hiegel had six each. The Titans converted 16 of 22 free throws and outscored Findlay 16-5 from the line.
“We had a lot of guys step up,” McGlaughlin said.
“Findlay started out so hot the first half. But I thought our guys weathered the storm. We just kept fighting. It was a collective effort we battled for 32 minutes and I think that’s a credit to our guys.”
Roth led Findlay with 20 points. Logsdon and Nunn had 17 each. Schumm had a game-high 10 rebounds.
“They have a nice team. They did a good job,” Rucki said. “We need to make sure we learn from this, because things are only going to get tougher.”
Findlay faces another “Titan”-ic battle on Friday when the Trojans host No. 6-ranked Toledo St. John’s (9-2, 5-0 TRAC) in a Three Rivers Athletic Conference matchup.
O-G will also be kept busy, playing four games in a seven-day stretch.
The Titans host Van Wert (3-5, 0-2 WBL) on Monday in a makeup of Friday’s postponed Western Buckeye League game, host Celina (0-10, 0-2 WBL) in another WBL contest Friday, and welcome Lima Senior (6-5) to Robert J. Hermiller Gymnasium on Saturday.
The preliminary games set the tone for Saturday’s varsity contest. In the first game, Findlay’s Ryan Stillings threw in a shot from just inside the mid-court line to give Findlay’s freshmen a 36-34 win. And in the JV contest, A.J. Adams tied the game in the final seconds of regulation with a steal and lay-up and scored 19 points overall in a 47-45 overtime win over O-G’s reserves.
Hiegel 8-12 2-2 19, Schroeder 1-2 0-0 3, White 5-9 3-5 17, Dible 3-4 0-0 6, Kaufman 7-12 9-13 25, Fortman 0-1 2-2 2, Heringhaus 1-4 0-0 3, Knowlton 1-1 0-0 3, Duling 0-0 0-0 0, Siefker 0-0 0-0 0. TOTALS: .26-43 16-22–78.
Logsdon 7-11 2-3 17, Roth 6-9 2-3 20, Nunn 8-15 0-0 17, Gutting 4-5 1-1 9, Schumm 2-2 0-0 4, Stillings 0-0 0-0 0, Howard 1-3 0-2 2, McCormick 0-1 0-0 0, Rader 0-0 0-0 0, Moore 0-0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 28-46 5-9–69.
Ottawa-Glandorf 17 18 21 22 — 78
Findlay 20 14 21 14 — 69
3-Point GOALS: Ottawa-Glanodrf 10-19 (Hiegel 1-2, Schroeder 1-2, White 4-7, Kaufman 2-3, Fortman 0-1, Heringhaus 1-4, Knowlton 1-1); Findlay 8-17 (Logsdon 1-3, Roth 6-9, Nunn 1-4, McCormick 0-1).
rebounds: Ottawa-Glandorf 27 (Kaufman 7, Dible 6, Hiegel 6); Findlay 21 (Schumm 10).
turnovers: Ottawa-Glanodrf 9, Findlay 10.
junior varsity: Findlay, 47-45, OT.
FRESHMEN: Findlay, 36-34.
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