Local Sports from The Courier
Thursday, February 07, 2013Boys Basketball: It's rivalry time for Trojans
A win is a win and a loss is a loss, but Friday's battle between Findlay and Fremont Ross might well be defined by the intangibles that don't show up in the record book.
For one, there's the rivalry.
Friday's game will be the 171st meeting between the Trojans and Little Giants in what is one of the oldest and longest-running rivalries in northwest Ohio. Bragging right are always on the line.
There's also a revenge factor.
In the first Three Rivers Athletic Conference matchup, on Dec, 21, Findlay routed Ross 71-34.
"We know we're a better team than that," Ross coach Mark Gedeon said after that loss, and it's a good bet the Little Giants will want to prove that on Friday.
Also at stake will be pivotal positioning heading into Sunday's tournament draw for the Division I sectional to be held at Liberty-Benton.
Of the six teams to be bracketed at Liberty-Benton, Anthony Wayne (15-2) will obviously earn the No. 1 seed. But the second seed is a toss-up. Heading into this week's games, Fremont Ross and Perrysburg are both 10-6 and Findlay 9-7.
Fremont Ross and Perrysburg, which hosts 4-13 Sylvania Southview on Friday, will play just one game this weekend. In addition to Friday's game at Ross, Findlay will host 2-15 Lima Shawnee on Saturday.
"We'll see how things shake out after two games this weekend," said FHS coach Jim Rucki.
Rucki was as surprised as Gedeon by Findlay's one-sided win over the Little Giants in December. But he's been in that situation himself, and recently.
"They are better than they showed that night," Rucki said. "We had great defensive intensity and did a lot of good things. They did not shoot well and nothing seemed to go right for them.
"That's the way it goes sometimes. We just had a game like that last weekend. That was our (Toledo) St. John's game, only in reverse."
Findlay's win over Ross was almost the same score as the Trojans' 73-33 loss to No. 5-ranked St. John's last Friday. Findlay rebounded, though, outlasting a talented Cleveland East Tech team 61-52 behind the strong inside play of 6-foot-3 junior Austin Gutting (30 points, 14 rebounds) and 6-7 senior Joseph Davidson (15 points, 6 rebounds).
"I thought we were pretty sharp against East Tech," Rucki said. "(East Tech) has great athleticism, and they forced us into some turnovers. But we executed well at times, and when we did we were able to get some easy baskets.
"We need to do that more. We don't create a lot of offense off of our defense, so we have to try and get some easy baskets with good execution."
Findlay has gone 3-5 after a 6-2 start to the season, with its last four losses being to teams ranked among Ohio's top 10 in their respective divisions. The Trojans have also had to deal with injury and illness, but should be at full strength with 6-3 junior Adam Twining back in the lineup.
Twining, who is second on the team in scoring (10.5 ppg), assists (47) and steals (16), was injured early in Friday's loss to St. John's and sat out Saturday's game against East Tech.
"We've struggled with guys being sick and being hurt and we've been a bit up and down here in the middle of the season. It's been one of those months, I guess," Rucki said.
"But we've had some good practices this week. Hopefully, we'll have a great one tomorrow (Thursday), because I know (Fremont Ross) is going to have a little extra motivation. They'll be determined to prove themselves and we're going to have to step up and match their intensity."
The battle for the TRAC title remains a three-team race between St. John's (15-3, 9-1), Whitmer (13-5, 8-2) and Central Catholic (14-2, 7-2). Central Catholic is at Whitmer on Feb. 15 and completes regular-season play at home against St. John's on Feb. 22.
FRIDAY'S TRAC GAMES
Findlay (9-7, 5-4) at Fremont Ross (10-6, 5-5)
Central Catholic (14-2, 7-2) at Lima Sr. (7-10, 4-6)
Whitmer (13-5, 8-2) at Oregon Clay (1-15, 0-10)
St. John's (15-3, 9-1) at St. Francis (1-15, 1-9)
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