LIMA — It turned out that finding your outside shooting touch late was better than never finding it at all for Findlay when it scraped by Lima Senior 51-50 in boys basketball on Friday night.
Michael Clark’s 3-pointer with three seconds to play gave the Trojans a win over the Spartans on a night when Lima Senior had led the entire first half and all but 18 seconds of the fourth quarter.
Findlay (8-4, 5-1 Three Rivers Athletic Conference) relied on its big men, Austin Gutting (21 points, 12 rebounds) and Joseph Davidson (10 points, 10 rebounds) almost exclusively.
But when it came to the game winner, Clark delivered.
“He was 0 for the 3-point line before that. That was a big shot,” Findlay coach Jim Rucki said. “We were very fortunate. Lima deserved to win this game.”
Lima Senior coach Shawn Allen said, “We played well enough to win. We defended the last shot. It wasn’t a wide open three.
“We took everything away from them. That was their last option. He was trying to get it to the rim. He faked and ducked under,” he said.
Lima Senior dominated the first quarter when it built an 18-4 lead to start the game, with the help of seven first-quarter turnovers by Findlay.
“We were playing lackadaisically and didn’t guard anybody,” Rucki said about the first quarter. And Lima Senior was doing what it wanted offensively and defensiveley.
The Spartans were still up by 10 points, 23-13, three minutes into the second quarter. But Gutting and Davidson, who combined for 20 of Findlay’s first 22 points, brought the Trojans back into the game.
“Defensively, in the second quarter we went away from our plan. We stopped fronting Austin (Gutting). He single-handedly brought them back in the second quarter,” Allen said. “That’s part of being young, you don’t stick to the plan.”
Findlay cut the lead to four points, 28-24, by halftime and opened up a five-point lead, 35-30, with 2 ½ minutes left in the third quarter.
But Lima Senior battled back to get a five-point lead of its own, 47-42, with three minutes left in the game.
The Spartans’ last lead was at 50-48 with 13 seconds to play after Isiah Simpson hit one of two free throws.
“To our credit, we got down a couple of times and came right back,” Allen said. “The game came down to a couple missed shots around the basket. We missed a lot of shots around the basket.”
Lima Senior hit only 3 of 10 field goal attempts in the fourth quarter. The Spartans shot 39 percent for the game (19 of 39) but were only a 32-percent shooting team in the final three quarters. And after connecting on four 3-pointers in the first half, they were shut out from behind the line in the last two quarters.
Findlay shot 48 percent (20 of 42) and outrebounded Lima Senior 31-19.