By DAVE HANNEMAN
A weekend tinged with tragedy was marked by triumph as well as the Ottawa-Glandorf basketball program returned to the court on Saturday and chalked up a hard-fought 61-57 nonleague win over Findlay High.
“We’ve got some heavy hearts right now,” said O-G coach Tyson McGlaughlin. “But being able to go out on the floor and take our minds off of it for a little bit was maybe a good thing.”
O-G’s Western Buckeye League game with Lima Bath was postponed after Angela Schumaker, the wife of O-G junior varsity coach Brad Schumaker, died in a car accident early Friday morning.
Saturday’s game at Findlay could have been postponed as well. But Ottawa-Glandorf opted to keep the game as scheduled, and before a jammed-to-the-rafters packed house at Findlay High, Schumaker led his unbeaten JV team to a convincing 47-28 victory.
“You look up in the stands and see how many former players made the trip here, from across the state and from out of state, to support Brad and his family, I think it speaks volumes not only for our program, but for the kind of people Brad and Angie were,” McGlaughlin said.
“That kind of support doesn’t happen everywhere. Everybody is feeling for them, and together we’ll get through this.”
O-G’s varsity followed with a win as well, but it was not nearly as easy.
Findlay trailed by 17 points late in the second quarter, but as they had done a night earlier against Lima Senior, the Trojans took it to the wire.
Brock Makrancy drilled back-to-back 3-pointers midway through the fourth quarter to get Findlay within 54-48. A.J. Adams’ floater and a 3-pointer by Max Roth trimmed the deficit to two (55-53) with 3:13 on the clock.
O-G missed a chance to pad its lead; Findlay missed a chance to trim it, and after a back-and-forth scramble for a loose ball, O-G’s Ethan Alt came up with it.
“If you dig a hole, then you need everything to go right,” said FHS coach Jim Rucki.
“I thought we played really hard the last 20 minutes of the game. A couple of times we hustled, we scrambled, the ball got bounced around and it ended up bouncing into their hands. I guess the odds are that’s going to happen about half the time. But if you dig yourselves a hole, you need it to go your way every time.”
Brennan Blevins got free under the basket and scored to give the Titans a bit of breathing room with just over a minute left. But Chris Strzempka scored off a nice assist from Adams and Adams converted two free throws to make it a one-possession game. Parker Schomaeker and Blevins converted 4 of 6 foul shots in the final 50 seconds to nail it down as O-G, ranked No. 4 in the state in Division III, ran its undefeated record to 11-0. Findlay dropped its second straight after a five-game winning streak and fell to 7-4.
“We got off to a good start, but we knew we had to against these guys,” McGlaughlin said.
“From beginning to end I thought our effort level was there and to beat a team the caliber of Findlay you have to be able to play 32 minutes.
“Luckily, we didn’t have to play 33.”
Ben Westrick, O-G’s leading scorer at around 16 points a game, managed just five on Saturday. But the 6-foot-7 senior post was a factor in other ways, grabbing 10 rebounds, altering shots and teaming with Alt, a 6-6 senior, and 6-7 junior Owen Nichols to deflect countless passes.
O-G’s other four starters provided the rest of the scoring. Alt was 4 of 4 on 3-pointers and scored 16 points, Nichols had 14 points and six rebounds, and Blevins and Schomaeker tossed in 13 points each.
Blevins scored nine of his total in the second quarter, including back-to-back 3s that gave O-G a 37-20 lead.
“I didn’t even know if (Blevins) was going to play tonight. It was a game time decision,” McGlaughlin said. “He’s been battling an injury, so to get what we got from him tonight shows the toughness of the kid.”
Adams was virtually unstoppable, especially when driving to the basket, in leading Findlay with 26 points that included some highlight-reel plays.
With O-G up 17 and looking to pad its lead even more by the half, Adams twice stole the ball and went in for slam dunks in the final minute of the second quarter.
Makrancy finished with nine points — all on 3-pointers. Isaiah Moore had seven points, Strzempka six and Roth five.
For the second straight game, a slow start hampered Findlay’s chances. Hot-handed from the start, O-G made 3 of 4 3-pointers in the first quarter and 4 of 5 in the second in opening up leads of 15-5, 24-8 and 37-20.
“Last night was different. Their pressure hurt us and we turned the ball over acclimating to the speed of the game,” Rucki said, referring to 13-point deficits that Findlay never completely overcame in a 48-45 loss at Lima Senior.
“Tonight, we just didn’t have a good focus to start the game. O-G played really well, certainly in the first half, and we didn’t. We were a step slow; we looked confused at times.
“I have to do a better job of making sure we’re ready to go.”
It will be a short turnaround for Findlay with Toledo St. John’s coming to town on Tuesday for a Three Rivers Athletic Conference game. St. John’s (7-3, 5-1 TRAC) beat Findlay 54-36 in an earlier matchup in Toledo.
“They carved us up the last time,” Rucki said. “These last two games I think will help us down the road, but we have to come out and perform better than when we went up there, and do it for 32 minutes.”
Schomaeker 4-8 3-4 13, Blevins 4-10 2-4 13, Alt 6-8 0-0 16, Nichols 6-7 2-4 14, Westrick 1-6 3-6 5, Beach 0-0 0-0 0. Dean 0-0 0-0 0, Kaufman 0-0 0-0 0, Rieman 0-0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 21-39 10-18–61.
Strzempka 3-5 0-1 6, Moore 3-13 0-1 7, M. Roth 2-8 0-0 5, Adams 11-20 4-4 26, Makrancy 3-6 0-0 9, J. Roth 0-0 0-0 0, Weihrauch 1-2 0-0 2, Montgomery 1-3 0-0 2. TOTALS: 24-57 4-6–57.
Otttawa-Glandorf 19 18 13 11 — 61
Findlay 5 19 14 19 — 57
3-Point GOALS: Ottawa-Glandorf 9-17 (Schomaeker 2-5, Blevins 3-8, Alt 4-4); Findlay 5-17 (Strzempka 0-1, Moore 1-5, M. Roth 1-3, Adams 0-1, Makrancy 3-6, Weihrauch 0-1).
rebounds: Ottawa-Glandorf 32 (Westrick 10, Nichols 6); Findlay 41 (Adams 7, Strzempka 5, Moore 5).
turnovers: Ottawa-Glandorf 12; Findlay 7.
JUNIOR VARSITY: Ottawa-Glandorf, 47-28.
FRESHMEN: Ottawa-Glandorf, 41-28.