By DAVE HANNEMAN
Findlay High’s two seniors both had their moment in the spotlight Friday night.
And a strong supporting group of underclassmen made sure that they did.
FHS seniors Joseph Davidson and Montrel Moss combined for 20 points and 12 rebounds as Findlay completed regular-season play with a 64-52 win over Lima Senior in a Three Rivers Athletic Conference matchup between the I-75 rivals.
Davidson, a 6-foot-7 forward, had 19 of those points and all 12 of those rebounds, playing every second of the game until being replaced by Moss with the Trojans up 63-48 and less than 30 seconds left.
Moss, originally from Findlay, moved back from Colorado to complete his senior year. The 6-2 wing hasn’t seen much floor time, but converted one of two free throws in the closing seconds to put a fitting end to Senior Night.
With 6-3 junior Adam Twining sidelined with an ankle injury, Findlay got excellent play from Michael Clark, Austin Gutting, Braden Miller and Grant McKinniss in finishing the regular season 14-8 overall and 9-5 in the TRAC.
Clark had a team-high 21 points and five assists and Gutting had 13 points and 10 rebounds. Miller nailed a 3-pointer to ignite a pivotal 9-0 run late in the first quarter and, despite being the shortest player on the floor at 5-8, hustled for eight rebounds.
McKinniss, a freshman sharpshooter, didn’t have the break-out game he had in Tuesday’s win over Toledo Central Catholic. But he opened the second half with a 3-pointer to give Findlay its biggest lead to that point (33-19), then had a key basket after a Lima Senior rally had trimmed that lead to 38-30.
Devon Allen and Isiah Simpson, the only two seniors on Lima Senior’s roster, scored 11 points each. Ruben Flowers added 10 points for the Spartans (7-15, 4-10 TRAC).
From the start, it looked like Lima Senior, not Findlay, would have something to celebrate when it was over. The Spartans led 8-0 and 10-2 as Findlay failed to score a point for their first five minutes.
“I was worried that might happen,” said FHS coach Jim Rucki.
“On a day like today, when you don’t have school (because of weather), you’re out of your normal routine and you worry about everything.
“We had a horrible start, but we bounced back.”
Miller and Clark jump started Findlay’s offense, with Miller hitting one 3-pointer and Clark two in the final 90 seconds of the quarter. Davidson then scored seven points and Gutting six as the Trojans expanded their lead with a 17-9 edge in the second quarter.
Lima Senior got no closer than six points (47-41) the rest of the game.
“It was hard for us to get any synch, any rhythm,” said Lima Senior coach Shawn Allen.
“I thought our effort was good. But we have some kids who not only young physically but mentally and the second half got away from us. We think we have a lot of pieces in place, but we’ve struggled putting all of those pieces together for a whole game, and against Findlay you can’t go possessions and not score.”
Davidson capped his night with two throw-down dunks. The first came on a break-away when Findlay beat Lima Senior’s press. The second was on a baseline move where Gutting penetrated, drew the defense to him, then found Davidson breaking to the basket.
The only breaks Davidson and Gutting got were to standing ovations in the final minute.
“We talked to them at the beginning of the season and said,’You guys have to play,’” Rucki said.
“We need them on the floor, and they did a nice job.”
“I think I have a little advantage because I’ve been in shape since football,” said Davidson, a receiver, defensive back and all-Ohio punter for the football team.
“You’re definitely beat after the game. But I was happy with how I ended my career on my home floor.”
Findlay and Lima Senior will both be in action Tuesday when the Spartans play Perrysburg (6 p.m.) and Findlay faces Oregon Clay (8 p.m.) in the Division I sectional semifinals at Liberty-Benton.
Findlay’s junior varsity capped a 16-6 season by beating Lima Senior’s reserve team 53-46. Joey Hammond scored 15 points and Trey Buford and Duke Gobrecht added nine each as Findlay finished 10-4 against TRAC teams.
LIMA SENIOR (7-15, 4-10)
D. Allen 3-11 2-2 11, Simpson 4-18 1-2 11, B. Allen 1-3 1-3 4, Gunn 1-2 0-0 2, Stafford 2-5 0-0 4, Dillingham 1-5 0-1 2, Flowers 4-8 2-2 10, Bingmon 0-2 2-2 2, Graham 3-3 0-2 6, Slaise 0-0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 19-57 8-14—52.
FINDLAY (14-8, 9-5)
Miller 1-2 2-2 5, Clark 6-11 4-4 21, Davidson 8-13 3-5 19, Gutting 5-10 3-5 13, McKinniss 2-5 0-0 5, Kairys 0-0 0-0 0, Gobrecht 0-1 0-0 0, Niswander 0-0 0-0 0, Buford 0-0 0-0 0, Haynes 0-0 0-0 0, Fisher 0-0 0-0 0, Moss 0-1 1-2 1. TOTALS: 22-43 13-19—64.
Lima Senior 120 9 16 17 — 52
Findlay 13 17 14 20 — 64
3-Point GOALS: Lima Senior 6-20 (D. Allen 3-9, Simpson 2-7, B. Allen 1-3, Dillingham 0-1); Findlay 7-15 (Miller 1-2, Clark 5-8, Davidson 0-1, McKinniss 1-3, Gobrecht 0-1).
rebounds: Lima Senior 29 (Flowers 6, Graham 5); Findlay 43 (Davidson 12, Gutting 10, Miller 8).
turnovers: Lima Senior 8, Findlay 13.
junior varsity: Findlay, 53-46.