LIMA — It was night and day. It was a 180-degree turnaround.
But not in a good way.
One week after Lima Senior dominated Fremont Ross in a game Spartans coach Shawn Allen said was as good as any game his teams have played in several years, Lima Senior came out flat, stayed flat and finished flat in a 76-53 loss to Findlay on Friday night.
Findlay (6-0, 4-0 Three Rivers Athletic Conference) led for all but around 30 seconds of the game against the Spartans (2-4, 1-3 TRAC).
“We got off to a horrid start. We crawled back in it. But all the things we worked on this week, we didn’t listen,” Allen said.
“The lights came on and we weren’t ready to play. All the things we did against Fremont last week, we took three steps back tonight,” he said.
Findlay started the game by taking the basketball inside and finding players open by close to those three steps on several occasions. The Trojans’ big men, 6-foot-3 Austin Gutting and 6-3 Adam Twining, scored 15 of their first 18 points and Findlay hit 21 of the 26 two-point shots it attempted in the game.
Twining led Findlay with 20 points. Michael Clark scored 16 and Gutting had 13 points and six rebounds.
Jay Thomas (12 points) and Rico Stafford (11 points) led Lima Senior.
“We executed a couple things well and a couple times our guys just saw an opening at the right time and took it. Michael (Clark) got a couple of layups where that was not the design but he saw something and took it,” Findlay coach Jim Rucki said.
“We got some decent looks. But we had a tough time stopping them at times. If we don’t shoot that well, if we don’t hit a couple of 3s, we were in for a tough game,” he said.
Lima Senior cut a 38-27 Findlay halftime lead to seven points, 44-37, with 4:58 left in the third quarter on a drive by Thomas. But Findlay answered with a 15-0 run to be up 59-37 by the end of the third quarter to put the game away.
Lima Senior shot 36 percent (20 of 55) and was 4 of 21 on 3-pointers.
“We had a great week of practice and preparation, but from tonight you’d think we hadn’t practiced since last Friday,” Allen said. “We have kids who have been in this program for four years who do amazing things in practice and can’t do them in a game.”
If the crowd at Lima Senior on Friday night had seen the game at Fremont, they would have seen a big difference, Allen said.
“We played as well as any team I’ve had in three years here as far as moving the basketball, sharing the basketball, about trying to defend, about caring about the team. So then we come back here and all that goes out the window. Their way doesn’t work. They think it does. Outside people want to tell them it does, but it doesn’t. We’re right back to where we were two weeks ago.”
While Lima Senior’s performance took a turn in the wrong direction, Findlay saw just the opposite. The Trojans barely scraped by Toledo St. Francis last Friday night before controlling Friday night’s game.
“I wish I had the secret,” Rucki said.
Lima Senior could have said the same thing.