By DAVE HANNEMAN
OREGON — Oregon Clay challenged Findlay with a few small rallies Friday night.
But Findlay overwhelmed the Eagles with several bigger ones in rolling to a 71-53 Three Rivers Athletic Conference boys basketball victory.
“Offensively, we did a nice job and we hit our shots again. And against their gambling defense, we didn’t turn the ball over like we have been,” FHS coach Jim Rucki said after the Trojans improved to 12-8 overall and 7-5 in the TRAC. Clay fell to 1-18 and remained winless (0-13) in the league.
Clay answered an 8-0 Findlay run with its own to trail just 19-12 at the end of the first quarter.
After a 10-4 rally put Findlay up by 29-18 midway through the second quarter, Clay ended the half with a 6-1 run to keep it close at 33-28.
“In the first half, we had them hitting 11 of 13 shots inside the (3-point) arc,” Rucki said. “They were making those diagonal passes against our zone. We let them score a couple of baskets. It was a little too easy for them.”
That’s when Joseph Davidson, Adam Twining and Austin Gutting took over and ended any Clay hopes of a Senior Night upset.
Davidson, Findlay’s 6-foot-7 senior forward, scored the first three baskets of the third quarter, with two of them coming on alley-oop passes from Twining.
Twining, a 6-3 junior, then tipped in a Findlay miss, nailed a 3-pointer, and scored after a Braden Miller steal to push the lead back to 46-35.
Gutting, a 6-3 junior, then converted a 3-point play and scored on an out-of-bounds play to make it 51-39 heading into the fourth quarter.
Clay did get within 51-42 when Patricc Booth converted 3 of 4 foul shots. But Twining, Davidson and Gutting sparked another run, with Twining’s dunk off a steal capping a 10-0 burst that put Findlay up 61-42 and all but sealed the deal.
“We were able to execute our offense in the second half and Adam, Joseph and Austin were able to convert,” Rucki said.
With junior point guard Michael Clark, who averages 8.1 points, leads Findlay in assists and was coming off a 20-point game against Toledo St. Francis, seeing limited time because of illness, Twining, Gutting and Davidson stepped up big by combining for 61 points.
Twining scored a career-high 29 points, including 14 in the fourth quarter when Findlay broke it open.
Gutting finished with 19 points, 10 of that coming in the first eight minutes.
Davidson, unofficially, had his second straight double-double, following Tuesday’s 11-point, 10-rebound effort against St. Francis with a 13-point, 10-rebound night against Clay.
Booth, a junior, was not in Clay’s starting lineup on Senior Nite. But the 6-1 guard still had a team-high 22 points. Jack Nagy added 14 points for the Eagles.
Friday’s win made it a TRAC sweep for Findlay, which also beat the Eagles 64-47 on Jan. 11. The two teams will meet for a third time on Feb. 26 in the Division I sectional semifinals at Liberty-Benton.
Findlay’s junior varsity improved to 15-5 by beating Clay’s reserves 49-36 Friday. Trey Buford’s 12 points led the Trojans.
FINDLAY (12-8, 7-5)
Miller 1-0—2, Twining 12-2—29, Davidson 6-1—13, Gutting 7-5—19, Kairys 0-2—2, Clark 0-0—0, McKinniss 2-0—6, Niswander 0-0—0, Gobrecht 0-0—0, Buford 0-0—0. TOTALS: 26 9-14—71.
OREGON CLAY (1-18, 0-13)
Nagy 6-2—14, DeMeo 2-0—4, Williams 1-1—3, Davis 1-0—3, Vidra 1-0—2, Booth 8-3—22, McCroty 2-1—5, Saenz 0-0—0. TOTALS: 20 7-13—53.
Findlay 19 14 18 20 — 71
Oregon Clay 12 16 11 14 — 53
3-Point GOALS: Findlay 5 (Twining 3, McKinniss 2); Oregon Clay 4 (Booth 3, Davis).
JUNIOR VARSITY: Findlay, 49-36.