By DAVE HANNEMAN
OTTAWA — The 39 points Findlay High’s A.J. Adams scored in Saturday’s 92-67 win over Ottawa-Glandorf was a statement in itself.
But the 6-foot-4 sophomore added a couple of exclamation points to his night for good measure.
Adams’ slam off a fast break gave Findlay a stunning 25-point lead over the once-beaten and state-ranked Titans with three minutes left in the second quarter. His 40-foot heave to end the third quarter was a dagger in the heart of a gritty O-G team that had spent the period trying to mount a comeback.
“We knew we had to come out with the same enthusiasm, the same intensity that we had last night,” said Adams referring to Friday’s 81-63 win over Lima Senior, another once-beaten, state-ranked opponent.
“We knew if we did that, if we got to the loose balls, if we played our game we could come out with a victory.”
Adams’s career high was complemented by a career-high 22 points and nine rebounds from 6-5 sophomore Chris Strzempka as Findlay’s post players continually got easy open looks inside.
Ottawa-Glandorf’s defensive strategy is to pressure and double-team the ball, but when the Titans did, Adams and Strzempka would break to the basket and Findlay’s guards found them with a quick pass. If backside help came over, a second pass was necessary but it added up to a sizzling shooting display by the Trojans.
Adams made 15 of 18 shots, including two 3-pointers. Strzempka connected on 8 of 11 shots.
“They were trapping a lot, so we were wide open,” Strzempka said. “Coach (Jim Rucki) told they would do that, so we had to be ready to catch the ball and take it to the basket,”
Findlay made 17 of 21 2-point attempts and 21 of 30 shots overall in building a 52-29 halftime lead. The Trojans shot 63 percent for the game (34 of 54) and underscored that hot-handed effort with a perfect 18 for 18 accuracy from the line.
“When you make the extra pass, when you share the ball, you’re going to get some good looks,” Rucki said after the weekend sweep of state-ranked opponents improved Findlay’s record to 9-3.
“(Ottawa-Glandorf) will rush you hoping to make you take that first open look. They’ll turn you over, they’ll press you, they’ll get you going 100 miles-per-hour and if you take a quick shot and miss they’re heading the other way.
“We made some really nice passes to beat that, and A.J. and Chris were open around the basket. And when we did take some jumpers, we hit them. When you shoot the ball well, everything looks a lot better.”
R.J. Nunn added 19 points for Findlay.
Owen Hiegel, Ottawa-Glandorf’s all-Ohio senior guard, scored 28 points for the Titans (9-2). Ethan White (10 rebounds) and Brennen Blevins both had 11 points and 6-7 junior center Ben Westrick had nine.
O-G had a 22-game home winning streak snapped, suffering its first loss at Robert J. Hermiller Gymnasium since a 65-51 loss to Findlay almost two years ago to the day.
“We didn’t come out in the right mindset. We were tentative, we got down early and we couldn’t get ourselves out,” said O-G coach Tyson McGlaughlin.
“Give Findlay all the credit in the world. They have some really good guards, they’re well-coached and they’re playing with a lot of confidence right now.
“Sometimes you go out there and there and things just aren’t meant to be. Tonight wasn’t our night, but Findlay had a lot to do with that. If we can take some things away from this game we can become a better team, but we have to look at ourselves in the mirror, address some issues and getter better. I think our guys will. That’s a tough group of guys in there, and they know that now it’s put up or shut up time.”
Rucki said the Trojans will enjoy their double-dip weekend of state-ranked opponents, but not for long.
“Beating Lima Senior was a big, big, big win for us,” Rucki said. “Beating these guys (O-G), the way they’ve been pasting people, and beating them here just adds another level.
“We’ll enjoy this tomorrow, but it’s back to work Monday because we don’t want this weekend to be the high point of our season. I think we’ve shown we can compete with the best teams in our league. Now it’s a matter of doing things right and making fewer mistakes. We’re 9-3 . We’re only a couple of possessions away from being 11-1, but we’re also only a couple of possessions away from being 7-5.
“That’s what we’re hoping to impress on these guys — one possession, every possession. In a one-point game, it could be the guy who hustles after a loose ball in the second quarter that ends up being the difference in the game.”
Moore 0-1 2-2 2, R. Roth 2-7 0-0 5, Nunn 7-13 2-2 19, Adams 15-18 7-7 39, Strzempka 8-11 6-6 22, C. Stillings 0-1 0-0 0, M. Roth 2-3 1-1 5, Ankney 0-0 0-0 0, Murphy 0-0 0-0, Chappell 0-0 0-0 0, R. Stillings 0-0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 34-54 18-18–92.
Fortman 0-3 0-0 0, Hiegel 10-18 6-8 28, Heringhaus 1-8 1-2 4, White 4-12 2-2 11, Westrick 3-5 3-3 9, Blevins 5-9 0-0 11, Unterbrink 0-1 0-0 0, Sahloff 0-1 0-0 0, Rieman 0-3 4-6 4, Beach 0-1 0-0 0, Nichols 0-1 0-0 0. TOTALS: 23-59 16-21–67.
Findlay 25 27 18 21 — 92
Ottawa-Glandorf 13 16 20 18 — 67
3-Point GOALS: Findlay 6-15 (C. Stillings 0-1, Moore 0-1, R. Roth 1-6, Nunn 3-5, Adams 2-2); Ottawa-Glandorf 5-27 (Fortman 0-2, Hiegel 2-8, Unterbrink 0-1, Blevins 1-5, Heringhaus 1-7, White 1-3, Westrick 0-1).
rebounds: Findlay 34 (Adams 9, Strzempka 9, Nunn 5); Ottawa-Glandorf 29 (White 10).
turnovers: Findlay 14, Ottawa-Glandorf 8.
junior varsity: Ottawa-Glandorf, 59-41.
FRESHMEN: Ottawa-Glandorf 59-58, OT.
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