By DAVE HANNEMAN
TOLEDO — It will go in the record books as a black block-letter W.
No frills, No shine. No glitter.
Sometimes, W’s don’t need any qualifiers.
“I thought the first half was as ugly as we’ve played offensively all season, but I definitely love the result,” Findlay High coach Jim Rucki said Tuesday after the Trojans scratched, clawed, battled and stumbled their way to a 43-33 win over Toledo Central Catholic in a Three Rivers Athletic Conference matchup at the Sullivan Center.
Findlay didn’t score a point for the first four minutes of the game, scored a season-low 16 points in the first half, missed some key free throws in the fourth quarter and had some costly turnovers at pivotal times, as well.
But a win is a win is a win; even the ones that come a bit rumpled and worn.
“It was not pretty, but we’ll take it for sure,” Rucki said. “It will give us something to talk about when we get together 20 years from now.”
The win was significant in that it upped Findlay’s record to 12-8 overall and guaranteed the Trojans of a winning record, something they have accomplished in each of Rucki’s 18 seasons as head coach.
“There are people, people I trust, who said they were really worried about that (a winning record),” Rucki said.
“But our guys played hard, and they stuck together. That’s tough to do sometimes when things don’t always go your way. You have to stick together, pull together, or you don’t have a chance and our guys have done that.”
Ryan Nunn led Findlay with 18 points, scoring seven of them when Findlay was finally able to finally open a gap, create some breathing room and begin to pull away in the fourth quarter.
Nunn scored on backdoor cut off a nice feed from Ryan Roth to put Findlay up 26-21 early in the fourth quarter. Jacob Logsdon then nailed a 3-pointer from the top of the key — only the second ‘3’ of the game for the Trojans — then flashed through the lane and scored inside to up the edge to 10 at 31-21.
Findlay couldn’t rest easy, though, not against a Central Catholic team that two weeks ago erased nearly all of a 19-point deficit in a 67-62 loss at Findlay High.
TCC’s Dominique Cole, a 6-6 sophomore, scored inside for the Irish and Cameron Awls converted two free throws.
Needing a spark, Findlay got one when Isaac Schumm beat the press and threw down an exclamation-point slam dunk with 3:58 to play.The Trojans converted 8 of 12 free throws in the final four minutes to seal the win.
“We’ve struggled offensively all season to get buckets, so we’ve hung our hat on our defense,” TCC coach T.J. Hunt said after the Irish, with four sophomores in the starting lineup, fell to 6-11 overall, 2-8 in the TRAC.
Central Catholic limited Roth, Findlay High’s single-season record-holder for 3-pointers, to four points. But Nunn got 18, Schumm 10 and Logsdon nine. Schumm also grabbed 12 rebounds, Adam Gutting nine and Nunn six as Findlay owned a 32-23 edge on the boards, including a big advantage on the offensive glass.
“We held Roth to four points, but it’s a two-headed monster with him and Nunn,” Hunt said.
“We did a good job of containing Nunn until he got loose in the fourth quarter. And the big kid — Schumm — did a nice job, nothing fancy, he just bangs in there and does the little things.”
Awls led Central Catholic with 10 points. Jonzell Norrils, who scored 20 in the earlier game with Findlay, managed eight and Dallas Fields had six.
Toledo Central Catholic did not miss a shot the entire first quarter, either from the field or from the line. But defense and turnovers both ended up being trademarks of a brutally low-scoring first half that ended in a 16-16 tie.
Findlay didn’t score its first basket until Nunn swirled in a 3-pointer 3:52 into the game. The Trojans trailed 9-3, went ahead 10-9 on a steal and lay-in by Roth and a drive by Nunn, fell behind again 14-10, and ended the half on a 6-2 run, all six points the result of a Roth assist or steal.
After making every shot attempt in the first quarter, Central Catholic was 2 for 8 from the field and 3 for 6 from the line in the second. The Irish also had eight turnovers in the second quarter and 14 in the first half.
Findlay hosts Lima Senior on Friday, then wraps up regular-season play the following Friday at Toledo St. John’s.
In Tuesday’s opener, Findlay’s reserves improved to 15-5 overall and 9-3 in TRAC games with 44-33 win over Central Catholic’s reserves. Freshmen Garit Krupp and A.J. Adams led Findlay with 14 and 13 points respectively.
FINDLAY (11-8, 5-6 TRAC)
Logsdon 3-9 2-2–9, Roth 2-8 0-1–4, Nunn 6-15 5-7–18, Gutting 0-1 0-0–0, Schumm 3-6 4-6–10, McCormick 1-1 0-0–2, Stillings 0-0 0-0–0. TOTALS: 15-40 11-16 — 43.
TOLEDO CENTRAL CATHOLIC (6-10, 2-7 TRAC)
Norrils 2-10 3-6–8, Fields 1-3 4-4–6, Awls 3-4 2-2–10, Cole 2-5 0-0–4, Marshall 1-9 0-0–2, Grombach 1-2 0-0–3, Ma. Griffin 0-0 0-0–0, Cross 0-0 0-0–0, Mi. Griffin 0-1 0-0–0, Sanders 0-0 0-0–0. TOTALS: 11-35 9-12 — 33.
Findlay 6 10 8 19 — 43
Toledo Central Catholic 9 7 5 12 –33
3-POINT GOALS: Findlay 2-14 (Logsdon 1-5, Roth 0-4, Nunn 1-4, Schumm 0-1); Toledo Central Catholic 4-19 (Grombach 1-2, Norrils 1-5, Awls 2-2, Mi. Griffin 0-1, Cole 0-2, Marshall 0-7).
REBOUNDS: Findlay 32 (Schumm, 12, Gutting 9, Nunn 6); Toledo Central Catholic 23 (Marshall 7).
TURNOVERS: Findlay 14, Toledo Central Catholic 17.
JUNIOR VARSITY: Findlay, 44-33.
By DAVE HANNEMAN