Review Category : Local Sports

Prep Hockey: FHS Trojans seeded fifth in district

SYLVANIA — Toledo St. John’s and Sylvania Northview were seeded first and second and Toledo St. Francis, Bowling Green and Findlay followed soon after as the five teams that make up the Northwest Hockey Conference’s Red Divison, a group that has a combined 54 Final Four appearances and 10 state titles, headed up the pairings for the Northwest District hockey tournament beginning Feb. 13 at Tam-O-Shanter Arena.
Toledo St. John’s, Ohio’s No. 1-ranked prep team, was seeded first at Thursday’s tournament draw and took a first-round bye. Second-seeded Northview also passed on a first-round game.
Findlay, the No. 5 seed, will face Fremont in a 6 p.m. opener on Feb. 14 at Tam-O-Shanter. A win would send the Trojans (13-11-4) against either Springfield or No. 4-seeded Toledo St. Francis in a second-round game on Feb. 18.
The district semifinals will be held Feb. 21 and 22 and the district final on March 1. The district champion will advance to the state tournament March 7-8 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus.

District Hockey Tournament
AT TAM-O-SHANTER ARENA
FEB. 13 GAMES
Sylvania Southview vs. Toledo Whitmer, Feb. 13, 6 p.m.
Toledo St. Francis vs. Springfield, Feb. 13, 8 p,.m
FEB. 14 GAMES
Findlay vs. Fremont Ross, Feb. 14, 6 p.m.
Bowling Green vs. Ottawa Hills, p.m.
FEB. 15 GAMES
Maumee vs. Perrysburg, 6:30 p.m.
Oregon Clay vs. Anthony Wane, 8:30 p.m.
FEB. 17 GAMES
Oregon Clay/Anthony Wayne winner vs. Sylvania Northview, 6 p.m.
Sylvania Southview/Toledo Whitmer winner vs. Toledo St. John”s, 8 p.m
FEB. 18 GAMES
Toledo St. Francis/Springfield winner vs. Findlay/Fremont winner, Feb. 14, 6 p.m.
Bowling Green/Ottawa Hills winner vs. Maumee/Perrysburg winner, 8 p.m.

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College Basketball: Beavers hold off Manchester

NORTH MANCHESTER, Ind. — Bluffton University’s men’s basketball team was outscored 32-26 in the second half against Manchester University, but the Beavers held on for a 58-54 Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference win on Thursday.
Austin Rohde had a team-high 12 points for Bluffton (8-12, 4-9 HCAC). Billy Taflinger added 11 and Will Pope had 10 points and nine rebounds.
Jon Thompson scored a game-high 18 points for Manchester.

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Girls Basketball: O-G Titans winning with defense

By MICHAEL BURWELL
Staff Writer
OTTAWA — Ottawa-Glandorf’s girls basketball team doesn’t rely on a prolific scorer that can get a team 20 points a game.
The Titans are young, with only three seniors on the team, and no player on the entire roster is taller than 5-foot-9.
So how does O-G have a 15-2 overall record this season and have a current 11-game winning streak in which it’s outscoring opponents by nearly 29 points per game?
“You have to play ferocious defense,” O-G head coach Troy Yant said. “I think we do that fairly well, probably as good as any team with our height.”
The Titans (15-2, 6-1 Western Buckeye League) are ranked eighth in the Division-III Associated Press poll due in part to that “ferocious defense” leading to fast-break chances on offense.
O-G has held its’ opponents to 35 percent shooting this season and has forced over 25 turnovers per game. The only time the Titans have allowed more than 50 points in a game was in a 65-45 loss to Liberty-Benton on Dec. 17.
Offensively, O-G averages over 60 points per game with only two players (Kristen Miller and Elissa Ellerbrock) averaging double figures in scoring.
Miller, one of the three seniors on the team, leads the Titans with 12.4 points, 3.4 steals and 2.2 assists per game. Ellerbrock averages 10.2 points per game, and Anna Bellman leads the team with 5.3 rebounds per game.
When Yant took over as coach at the start of the 2012-2013 season, he didn’t want to have to depend on one or two players carrying the team, so he implemented a transition offense where everyone could get the ball.
“When you have one or two good players, that’s great, but if you run into a team that has one or two good defenders, it’s easier to neutralize one or two players than if everybody’s touching the ball,” Yant said. “I think when we first talked about building an offense where we wanted to be more transition, we wanted girls to be able to touch the ball that maybe wouldn’t have confidence to handle the ball in a half-court set.”
O-G fell on tough times from 2008-2012, going 28-57 with no more than nine wins in either of its’ four seasons. Even when Yant first took over as coach, he ran into problems.
“They were reluctant to playing the kind of style of basketball that we play now,” said Yant, who has a 31-11 career record as O-G’s coach. “Some of them didn’t see the advantage of being so small and trying to run against teams that were more disciplined and stuff, and it was kind of a hard sell.”
But the Titans are all in with his system now.
“We’re all learning the new process,” Miller said. “It’s hard at times, but he pushes us like crazy, and we turned into a fast-break team, and that has been the most beneficial thing of our season.”
Although the Titans have a chance to get its’ best record since the 2006-07 season (21-3), there’s still room for improvement. O-G lost 47-44 to WBL-leading Lima Bath (16-1, 7-0 WBL) on Dec. 5, along with the 20-point loss to Liberty-Benton (16-1) in which the Titans had a 31-29 halftime lead.
“I think coming into this season, our girls made realistic goals,” Yant said. “Looking at our schedule, we thought we could beat everybody.
“We’d have to play well, but we thought if we were playing like we were last year, we could beat everybody. So it’s been a little bit disappointing that we let some games get away from us.”
Yant said the Titans played its’ best basketball of his tenure during last year’s tournament run that ended in a 40-37 loss in the district final to Archbold, which advanced to the regional final.
So far this season, Yant said the Titans haven’t yet played at that level.
“We need to have a couple of close games. We need to know that we can get over the hump because obviously, we’re hoping to do something in tournament,” Yant said. “We need those games and haven’t really had those, so we’re not sure where we’re at, and that’s the selling point to the girls.”
The Titans have five games left in the regular season, with the next game tonight against Elida. The biggest matchup will be against Division-III rival and second-ranked Archbold on Feb. 11.
“Our girls, they have Archbold in the back of their head all the time,” Yant said. “Archbold is what fueled us in the summer, knowing that we were close, knowing that they made it to regionals, we did not.”
O-G begins its’ tournament run Feb. 22 when it faces the Elmwood-Bluffton winner in the Elida district. Other area teams in the district include Columbus Grove, Upper Sandusky and Liberty-Benton.
Until then, Yant will be pushing the Titans in practice with suicides and lane slides to prepare for the rest of the season.
“He works on us getting faster and stronger because when we go up against those big players and those big teams later on in tournaments and stuff, we need to out-hustle them,” Miller said. “We need to win all the 50-50 balls. We need to be the better team defensively because like he says, defense wins games, and that’s working for us.”
Burwell, 419-427-8410
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Prep Gymnastics: Findlay to defend TRAC title

Findlay High School’s depth and tradition will be key factors on Saturday when the Trojans will be the odds-on favorite to defend their title in the Three Rivers Athletic Conference gymnastics championships.
Oregon Clay won the first-ever TRAC gymnastics championship in 2011 with a young, freshman-dominated team. But Findlay has won the last two titles and done so comfortably. A year ago, the Trojans had a total of 141.90 points in the league meet and posted staggering margin of victory over second-place Toledo Notre Dame (130.95). Clay was third among the six TRAC schools who sponsor gymnastics teams.
Findlay has already out-pointed Oregon Clay in two big meets this season, at the Beauty and the Beast competition hosted by Findlay, and in the Wolfpack Invitational at Worthington, where the Trojans were third and Clay fourth.
The Wolfpack Invitational was two weeks ago, a good time frame according to FHS coach Traci Dunn.
“Two weeks is a good because it gives you that time to fine tune things and get healthy,” Dunn said after the Wolfpack Invitational.
Findlay no longer has Alex Settlemire, the TRAC Gymnast of the year as a sophomore, junior and senior. But the Trojans, with 10 gymnasts on the team, have more depth this year and a number of TRAC veterans returning. Tori Cox, a junior, was second to Settlemire in the all-around scoring in last year’s TRAC championships, Maranda Butler was fifth in the all-around standings and Leah Thomas was seventh. Cassidy Pruitt has also been among the Trojans’ leading scorers.
The TRAC championships will be held at the Exceleration Gymnastics Center in Toledo on Saturday beginning at 5:30 p.m.

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Prep Sports: Area prep athletes set college plans

A pair of area football players secured their futures with Bowl Championship Series programs to highlight National Signing Day for area high school athletes on Wednesday.
Patrick Henry’s Colt Pettit signed a letter of intent earlier in the week to play football at Virginia Tech, while Bluffton’s Isaac Little will be preferred walk-on at the University of Cincinnati.
Pettit was one of 28 players signed by the Hokies on Wednesday. The 6-foot-4, 260-pound all-Ohioan was recruited as on offensive lineman and will likely play guard at Virginia Tech.
Little, a first-team all-Ohio selection last season for the Pirates, is a 6-3, 207-pound linebacker.
“Isaac has all the potential in the world as he enters UC. He has only played linebacker for one year full time and will quickly make his presence known. He will be an important contributor from Day 1,” said director of recruiting Mike Waugh on the Bearcats’ Twitter page.
The rest of the area’s signees and commits will take their athletic talents to the NCAA Division II level in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
A pair of Liberty-Benton soccer players have committed to play in college.
Second team all-Ohio selection Kayla Trevino will play at Northwood University. She scored a team-high 34 goals with nine assists in leading the Eagles to an 18-1-1 record and Division III regional runner-up finish last fall.
Peyton Schroeder will join the University of Findlay men’s soccer program. Schroeder was a first-team all-league and second-team all-district selection for the Eagles. He scored 18 goals with 11 assists.
Findlay High School’s Ciara Ralston will be playing volleyball in the GLIAC for Ohio Dominican University. Ralston was a first-team all-Three Rivers Athletic Conference selection for the Trojans. She was one of the top hitters the past couple of seasons for Findlay.
The other area recruits will do battle against one another on the gridiron as eight area football players are headed to five GLIAC schools.
The University of Findlay’s 27-member freshmen class will include Pandora-Gilboa’s Jared Tousley and Alex Osborn as well as Ottawa-Glandorf’s Cody Alt.
Ashland signed 39 players, including Liberty-Benton’s Brandon May and Ada’s Matthew Wilcox.
May, a 6-3, 240-pound defensive end, recorded 179 tackles and 12 sacks for the Eagles over the last two seasons. He was first team all-Ohio and was the BVC’s Defensive Lineman of the Year.
Wilcox is a 6-1, 185-pound defensive back/quarterback. He was a second-team all-Ohio selection at safety and is an all-Ohio swimmer as well.
Mohawk linebacker Eric Maskey was one of a 26-member incoming class at Tiffin University. The 6-3, 210-pound linebacker was a first team all-league and third-team all-Ohio selection for the Warriors last season.
Patrick Henry’s Tobey Hernandez and Elmwood’s Sawyer Haines also signed letters of intent this week with Malone and Ohio Dominican respectively.
Hernandez, a 5-9, 195-pound running back, was a three-sport letterwinner at Patrick Henry. He earned first team all-league and all-district and was a third-team all-Ohioan for the Patriots.
Haines was a second-team all-conference selection as a defensive end this season for the Royals.

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Area Prep Basketball Leaders

PREP Boys Basketball
Area Scoring Leaders
G Pts Avg.
Jared Wentling, Carey 17 375 22.1
Zach Kuhlman, Leipsic 15 301 20.1
Will Vorhees, Columbus Grove 15 290 19.3
Jacob Gossard, Hardin Northern 16 289 18.1
Bryan Powers, Carey 17 298 17.5
Noah Bramlage, Ottawa-Glandorf 17 296 17.4
Josh Ireland, Arcadia 13 212 16.3
Levi Kistler, Bluffton 16 257 16.1
Wes Vent, Upper Sandusky 17 269 15.8
Michael Blunk, Arlington 13 203 15.6
Adam Twining, Findlay 18 275 15.3
Jimmy Fox, Riverdale 15 230 15.3
Jacob Frost, North Baltimore 16 243 15.2
Mitch Parker, Mohawk 17 254 14.9
Austin Smith, Vanlue 14 205 14.6
Sawyer Junge, Van Buren 16 232 14.5
Clay Grubb, McComb 15 217 14.5
Ryan Lommerse, Hopewell-Loud. 17 244 14.4
Jace Darbyshire, Columbus Grove 15 215 14.3
Adam Cytlak, Liberty-Benton 16 224 14.0
Lee Holderman, Riverdale 15 204 13.6
Grant Risner, Cory-Rawson 11 148 13.5
Ryan Geise, Liberty-Benton 8 106 13.3
Austin Gutting, Findlay 18 236 13.1
John Darnall, Liberty-Benton 15 197 13.1
Zach Boes, Carey 11 143 13.0
Andrew Hunter, Arlington 13 166 12.8
Adam Niese, Miller City 16 202 12.6
Nick Hagerty, Vanlue 15 189 12.6
Aaron Arnold, Elmwood 15 187 12.5
Seth Schmenk, Pandora-Gilboa 16 197 12.3
Chad Pever, Riverdale 15 175 12.1
Chad Wright, North Baltimore 16 192 12.0
Jake Dryfuse, New Riegel 15 180 12.0
Jordan Brown, Leipsic 15 178 11.9
Hayden Ramsey, Arcadia 13 151 11.6
Tyson Frey, Riverdale 15 170 11.3
Gabe Walters, St. Wendelin 14 149 10.6
Seth Frey, Upper Sandusky 17 179 10.5
Nathan Craft, Liberty-Benton 15 158 10.5
Rylie Drumm, Hardin Northern 12 126 10.5
Nick Root, St. Wendelin 14 146 10.4
Jackson Lammers, Miller City 16 167 10.4
Tim Ink, New Riegel 15 155 10.3
Cody Clifford, Upper Sandusky 17 175 10.3
Matthew Alspach, Cory-Rawson 14 143 10.2
Area Rebounding Leaders
G Reb Avg.
Jared Wentling, Carey 17 160 9.4
Chad Wright, North Baltimore 16 146 9.1
Grant Risner, Cory-Rawson 11 99 9.0
Noah Bramlage, Ottawa-Glandorf 17 148 8.7
Rylie Drumm, Hardin Northern 12 100 8.3
Mitchell Ault, Bluffton 16 131 8.2
Ryan Lommerse, H-Loudon 17 140 8.2
Will Vorhees, Columbus Grove 15 122 8.1
Wes Vent, Upper Sandusky 17 138 8.1
Jordan Brown, Leipsic 15 121 8.1
Seth Schmenk, Pandora-Gilboa 16 123 7.7
Gabe Walters, St. Wendelin 14 108 7.7
Jared Tousley, Pandora-Gilboa 15 112 7.5
Michael Blunk, Arlington 13 95 7.3
Jake Dryfuse, New Riegel 15 110 7.3
Michael Kirian, New Riegel 15 104 6.9
Clay Grubb, McComb 15 100 6.7
Jacob Frost, North Baltimore 16 106 6.6
Austin Gutting, Findlay 18 119 6.6
Levi Kistler, Bluffton 16 102 6.4
Zach Boes, Carey 11 69 6.3
Adam Niese, Miller City 16 96 6.0
Seth Frey, Upper Sandusky 17 101 5.9
Adam Twining, Findlay 18 107 5.9
Jimmy Fox, Riverdale 15 85 5.7
Adam Drummelsmith, Miller City 16 90 5.6
Tyler Zender, Ottawa-Glandorf 17 96 5.6
Zach Kuhlman, Ottawa-Glandorf 17 95 5.6
Aaron Arnold, Elmwood 15 83 5.5
Tyson Frey, Riverdale 15 82 5.5
Sawyer Junge, Van Buren 16 83 5.2
Jacob Gossard, Hardin Northern 16 82 5.1
Marcus Brand, Van Buren 16 80 5.0
Braxton Fasone, Van Buren 16 80 5.0
Nick Hagerty, Vanlue 15 75 5.0
Grant Loveridge, Riverdale 15 74 4.9
Hayden Ramsey, Arcadia 13 64 4.9
Area Assists Leaders
G Asts Avg.
Daniel Roberts, Van Buren 16 90 5.6
Andrew Hunter, Arlington 13 68 5.2
Deven Peters, Elmwood 4 19 4.8
Zach Boes, Carey 11 52 4.7
Michael Clark, Findlay 18 82 4.6
Adam Cytlak, Liberty-Benton 16 70 4.4
Mitchell Ault, Bluffton 16 66 4.1
Bryan Powers, Carey 17 69 4.1
Lane Bishop, North Baltimore 16 61 3.8
Aaron Arnold, Elmwood 15 55 3.7
Matthew Holsinger, Carey 11 40 3.6
Nick Hagerty, Vanlue 15 52 3.5
Brayden Dunlap, Mohawk 17 59 3.5
Cody Clifford, Upper Sandusky 17 57 3.4
Sawyer Junge, Van Buren 16 54 3.4
Zach Kuhlman, Leipsic 15 50 3.3
Jacob Gossard, Hardin Northern 16 51 3.2
Adam Twining, Findlay 18 56 3.1
Hunter Hovest, Pandora-Gilboa 15 47 3.1
Adam Endicott, Van Buren 16 45 2.8
Jace Darbyshire, Columbus Grove 15 42 2.8
Austin Smith, Vanlue 14 39 2.8
Area Steals Leaders
G Stls Avg.
Wes Vent, Upper Sandusky 17 64 3.8
Chad Pever, Riverdale 15 44 2.9
Cory Heuerman, Miller City 16 41 2.6
Mitch Parker, Mohawk 17 44 2.6
Braden Miller, Findlay 18 40 2.2
Jared Wentling, Carey 17 38 2.2
Matthew Holsinger, Carey 11 24 2.2
PREP GIRLS Basketball
Area Scoring Leaders
G Pts Avg.
Rachel Myers, Liberty-Benton 16 374 23.4
Kamryn Troike, St. Wendelin 16 326 20.4
Courtney Cramer, Arcadia 16 291 18.2
Emily Clymer, McComb 19 338 17.8
Paige Ordway, Continental 18 316 17.6
Molly Glick, Arcadia 16 278 17.4
Taylor Graboski, Upper Sandusky 17 290 17.1
Jordyn Wright, Riverdale 17 278 16.4
Kristen Curtis, Elmwood 16 256 16.0
Tori Wyss, Ada 17 257 15.1
Nora Hemminger, McComb 19 285 15.0
Megan Maag, Pandora-Gilboa 17 255 15.0
Kasey Adelsperger, Mohawk 16 277 14.8
Kiley Scott, Cory-Rawson 17 245 14.4
Aleta Daniel, Hopewell-Loudon 15 210 14.0
Lauren Kotey, Liberty-Benton 16 221 13.8
Kara Scherger, New Riegel 17 230 13.5
Sydney Wentling, Carey 16 208 13.0
Julie Adelsperger, Mohawk 16 203 12.7
Courtney Burns, Hopewell-Loud 14 176 12.6
Haley Gerten, Leipsic 18 223 12.4
Kristen Miller, Ottawa-Glandorf 17 211 12.4
Sydney Holderman, Riverdale 11 133 12.1
Paige Sudlow, Van Buren 16 208 12.1
Lauren Ladd, New Riegel 17 205 12.1
Nichole Miller, Van Buren 16 190 11.9
Samantha Ervin, Elmwood 16 184 11.5
Taylor Arbogast, New Riegel 17 194 11.4
Taylor Kirian, New Riegel 17 193 11.4
Amber Gerdeman,Leipsic 18 205 11.4
Ali Rymer, Carey 16 178 11.1
Olivia Frost, North Baltimore 15 167 11.1
Dani Heaster, Arlington 17 180 10.6
Nicolette Devincentis, L-B 16 168 10.5
Elissa Ellerbrock, O-G 17 173 10.2
Area Rebounding Leaders
Kamryn Troike, St. Wendelin 16 218 13.6
Taylor Graboski, Upper Sandusky 17 221 13.0
Lauren Kotey, Liberty-Benton 16 162 10.1
Brooke Arbogast, H-L 15 145 9.7
Kelly Nadler, Leipsic 18 149 8.3
Ali Rymer, Carey 16 131 8.2
Lauren Ladd, New Riegel 17 138 8.1
Amber Gerdeman,Leipsic 18 146 8.1
Emily Clymer, McComb 19 152 8.0
Tori Wyss, Ada 17 136 8.0
Megan Maag, Pandora-Gilboa 17 129 7.6
Rebecca Kirian, Arcadia 16 122 7.6
Molly Glick, Arcadia 16 120 7.5
Chloe Kromer, Vanlue 19 143 7.5
Olivia Frost, North Baltimore 15 109 7.3
Kristen Curtis, Elmwood 15 114 7.1
Jensen Hiegel, Liberty-Benton 16 112 7.0
Samantha Ervin, Elmwood 16 112 7.0
Taylor Kirian, New Riegel 17 118 6.9
Hope Brickner, Hopewell-Loudon 15 100 6.7
Kiah Powell, North Baltimore 18 119 6.6
Logan Johnson, Carey 16 104 6.5
Abbie Dauterman, Arcadia 16 104 6.5
Alexis Amburgey, Ada 17 104 6.1
Area Assists Leaders
G Asts Avg.
Brenna Dee, McComb 19 106 5.6
Vanessa McCullough, P-Gilboa 17 88 5.2
Sydney Wentling, Carey 16 74 4.6
Aleta Daniel, Hopewell-Loudon 15 67 4.5
Taylor McClain, Mohawk 16 68 4.3
Haley Bonham, Vanlue 19 80 4.2
Hannah Draper, Carey 16 67 4.2
Kendra Tuttle, Cory-Rawson 17 68 4.0
Rachel Myers, Liberty-Benton 16 62 3.9
Courtney Burns, H-L 14 50 3.6
Haley Gerten, Leipsic 18 63 3.5
Marissa Swavel, Elmwood 16 55 3.4
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Boys Basketball: Trojans set to host St. John’s

By DAVE HANNEMAN
STAFF WRITER
Findlay will be trying to do what no other Three River Athletic Conference team, and only four highly ranked teams overall, has been able to accomplish this season when the Trojans host league-leading Toledo St. John’s Friday at the FHS Gymnasium.
“They have a really nice team,” Findlay coach Jim Rucki Tuesday after the Trojans dispatched Lima Senior 54-39.
“St. John’s has a skilled big kid (6-foot-9 senior Parker Ernsthausen), they have a Division I (college) guard (Anthony Glover, Jr.), they have guys who can come off the bench and make shots and guys who can come off the bench and knock down 3-pointers.
“They have the whole package.”
Findlay threw a bit of a scare into the Titans in a Jan. 3 matchup at St. John’s. The Trojans blitzed the Titans 23-13 in the third quarter but could not overcome a slow start in a 59-48 loss.
St. John’s led that game 15-4, 17-6 and 24-8 as Findlay went 1 for 6 from 3-point range and was 7 of 22 shooting in the first half.
“We shot the ball poorly and did not play well up there the last time,” Rucki said. “Hopefully we’ll come out with greater effort and greater focus, make some shots and give ourselves a chance to be in the game.”
St. John’s opened the 2013-14 season 0-2, a not-too-surprising start for a program that always plays a tough schedule and graduated a talented class that included Ohio’s Mr. Basketball Marc Loving.
Those first two losses were to Shaker Heights (14-4 and ranked No. 12 in the state) and No. 11-ranked Toledo Rogers (14-2). Since then, the Titans (15-4, 11-0 TRAC) have only fallen to No. 1-ranked Lakewood St. Edward’s (15-1) and No. 2-ranked Cincinnati Moeller (15-1).
In addition to their league win over Findlay, the Titans own a 62-59 overtime win over second-place Toledo Central Catholic (13-2, 8-1) and need a least two wins in their final three league games to clinch at least a share of second straight TRAC title.
Findlay, 14-4 overall, is 8-3 in league play after Tuesday’s win over Lima Senior. The Trojans struggled a bit for three quarters, but took control in the final period to win for the seventh time in eight games on their home floor.
“Our kids seem to feed off the energy of the crowd,” Rucki said. “With the storm, the snow, a lot of people couldn’t make it and there wasn’t a big crowd here.
“We didn’t seem to have a lot of energy early on. We’ll need to get off to a better start against St. John’s. We think we can play with them, but we have to have our ‘A’ game.”
Hanneman, 419-427-8405
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College Basketball: UF is figuring it out

By BRIAN LESTER
STAFF WRITER
When the University of Findlay men’s basketball team takes the floor tonight against Ohio Dominican, the Oilers will be playing their fourth game in seven days.
It is a rigorous stretch of basketball that every team in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference is dealing with during this final month of the regular season.
However, UF head coach Charlie Ernst hasn’t spent time talking about it with his team, which hosts the Panthers at 8 p.m. at Croy Gymnasium.
“Every team is in the same boat, so there really isn’t a reason to bring it up, but it is important that we don’t overtax the guys in practice,” Ernst said. “While there are a lot of things we want to cover, we want them to be fresh mentally and physically so they are in a position to play their best.”
Even if the schedule had not worked out the way it did this season, all GLIAC teams played on Monday this week, this is the point in the season where practice time is reduced.
“This is the first year we’ve had to play that extra game in a week, but normally when we get to February, our practice times begin to tail off a little bit anyway,” Ernst said. “We don’t practice nearly as long.”
The Oilers will be aiming for their third consecutive win, and very game counts a little more because teams are vying for not only positioning in the conference title race, but NCAA tourney positioning as well.
The good thing for UF (15-4, 11-4 GLIAC), which is a half game behind Walsh in the South Division and tied for second overall, is that its hitting its stride.
“As you go along in a season, you learn a lot about your team and figure out what works and what doesn’t work, and our team is really figuring out how it needs to play to be successful,” Ernst said. “Our players are developing confidence and finding their identity as a team.”
What the Oilers need to do against the Panthers is take care of business. In the first meeting, UF beat ODU (5-14, 3-12) 87-62 in Columbus.
The Panthers, just 1-8 on the road, have lost four of their last five and are coming off an 80-68 win over Tiffin on Monday.
But while ODU has struggled, the Oilers can’t afford to take them lightly.
“I told the guys this game is as important as every other game we will play,” Ernst said. “Our players understand the importance of it.”
Sophomore guard Mark Minch leads the Panthers as he is averaging 15.7 points per game. Sophomore guard Chad Nelson is clicking for 12.3 points per outing and has knocked down 27 3-pointers.
Sophomore forward Trent Weaver is also scoring in double figures for the Panthers, averaging 11.2 ppg. He is grabbing 8.3 rebounds per game as well.
The Panthers average 70.6 points per outing and allow 77.4. They are shooting 33.1 percent from the field while opponents are shooting 46.8 percent from the field.
Ernst said there are advantages and disadvantages to playing a team a second time.
“On one hand, from a defensive standpoint it is easier because you know what worked the last time you played them,” Ernst said. “But offensively, it’s a little more difficult because they are going to make adjustments, too.”
UF comes in averaging 82.8 points per outing and allowing 68.6. The Oilers edged Hillsdale 74-71 Monday in a pivotal division battle and are ready to carry that momentum forward.
Senior forward Greg Kahlig will play a pivotal role in that quest as he comes into the game averaging 21.9 ppg. He has 1,557 points and is 15 away from moving into 11th on the all-time scoring list. Kahlig remains on pace to be the first player to average 20 points per outing since Greg Denecker did it during the 1993-94 season.
Junior forward Jake Heagen (12.3), sophomore guard Dylan Kaufman (12.1) and sophomore point guard Dylan Kaufman (10.1) are also scoring 10 or more points.
The Oilers are in pursuit of their 12th division crown and this is the time of the year where they usually thrive. UF is 29-9 in February in the last five seasons.
“I don’t know if there is one thing you can put your finger on as to why we’ve had success in that month, but I think one of the biggest things is that we always have something to play for at this time of the year,” Ernst said.
Women trying to end skid
The UF women’s basketball team will look to end a two-game losing streak tonight when they take on ODU in a 6 p.m. GLIAC game at Croy Gymnasium.
The Oilers (9-10, 6-9 GLIAC) need a win to stay in the hunt for a conference tournament berth. They enter tonight two games behind the eighth-best team in the league and are in 11th in the overall standings. Only the top eight make the tournament.
In the first meeting with the Panthers (8-11, 5-10) the Oilers fell 79-72 in overtime. It was one of six games UF has lost this season by seven points or less.
ODU, coming off a 69-55 win over Tiffin, is averaging 63.1 points per game and allowing 64.5. Junior guard Kacee Hockenberry leads the Panthers, averaging 16.7 points per outing. Sophomore forward Melissa Scherpenberg is averaging 9.5 ppg and is grabbing 10.2 rebounds per outing as well.
Freshman forward Madi Rittinger is averaging 8.3 points per outing and the Panthers are shooting 38.8 percent from the field while holding opponents to 38.2 percent shooting from the floor.
Sophomore forward Margaret Wuebker leads UF in scoring at 12.8 ppg. Junior guard Ciara Geiger has come on strong as of late, leading Findlay in scoring in their last three games.
Geiger is averaging 9.3 points per outing and has scored in double figures in each of the last three games, including a 17-point effort against Malone on Saturday. She scored 13 in Monday’s 66-61 loss to Hillsdale.
Lester, 419-422-5151
Send an E-mail to Brian Lester

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College Football: UF Oilers add 27 players

By BRIAN LESTER
STAFF WRITER
Hanging out in the football office inside the Gardner Center on national signing day has become a tradition for University of Findlay head coach Rob Keys and his staff.
The coaches get together early in the morning, set up a nacho bar in a conference room and then relax and enjoy the day while waiting for the national letters of intent to roll in off the fax machine.
Keys, entering his fourth season as the head coach of the Oilers, almost didn’t make it to the office Wednesday because of the latest snow storm.
“I had an interesting start to my day because I couldn’t get my car out of the driveway,” said Keys, who planned to head out the door before the sun even came up. “I started walking to the school from my house at 5:30 a.m. and (offensive line) coach (Kory) Allen picked me up about half-way there.”
Keys did make it work and so did 27 letters of intent as the Oilers unveiled their 2014 recruiting class.
Four or five more players are expected to send in letters today. The storm closed most schools, which prevented those players from getting to a fax machine.
The class, which features seven linebackers, five wide receivers and five defensive backs, is the culmination of months of hard work by the staff to put together the class. Because of the countless hours spent on the recruiting trail, signing day is a chance for the coaches to see their hard work pay off.
“We just enjoy the day and seeing those players sign is a reward for all of the hard work we have put into the process,” Keys said. “My staff does a tremendous job of getting out there and identifying prospects. I am definitely happy with the class we have signed.”
Included in that list are three local players, including two from Pandora-Gilboa.
Wide receiver Alex Osborn, who led the Blanchard Valley Conference in yards per catch (22.4) last season while catching eight touchdown passes, and defensive end Jared Tousley, a three-year starter and team captain, are both standouts for the Rockets.
Ottawa-Glandorf linebacker Cody Alt is the other local athlete who signed with UF. Alt tallied 78 tackles last season.
Osborn said he was determined to be a college football player. He was a ball boy for the Rockets when current UF defensive lineman Josh Lee was a senior at P-G and always dreamed of having a chance to take his game to the college level.
“It’s a dream come true,” Osborn said. “I’ve put in a lot of hard work to get this chance and I wanted to put myself in a place where I could be successful. I see a lot of potential for our team and I’m excited to be a part of it.”
Just as UF was successful recruiting players from a school 20 minutes or so down the road from campus, the staff also stretched its reach to as far as Georgia and Louisiana.
The Oilers landed defensive end Laceem McCall out of Peachtree Ridge High School in the Atlanta area and also took Mike Campbell Jr. out of Vermillion Catholic High in Abbeville, La.
McCall was the MVP of his team and tallied 45 tackles a year ago. He was rated as the 22nd best defensive end in the state of Georgia by MaxPreps.
Campbell helped lead his team to a state championship and rushed for 1,867 yards and 33 touchdowns as a senior.
One of the other more notable out-of-state recruits is Ta’Vaughn Morton from Butler High School in Louisville. Morton helped lead his team to three consecutive state semifinal appearances and was an all-state selection.
Being able to sell players on a program that has risen over the last three seasons doesn’t hurt in the Oilers’ bid to bring in the best possible players.
UF is coming off its third consecutive winning season, going 8-3, and the expectations will be just as high in 2014 as the Oilers will be seeking their first Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference title and first-ever bid to the NCAA Division II playoffs.
“When I got here, we were selling kids on a vision of what we could do as a program,” Keys said. “Now, we can legitimately go up to players and show them concrete evidence of success. Competitive players are going to want to go to a winning program, and we can offer that to them. The talent level continues to go up.”
Making sure that happens involves a lot of time recruiting. Keys and his staff hit most of the schools in the state once the season ends and then spend hours watching film on potential recruits.
“Our coaches go through hours of film and put together a list of 10-15 guys that we want at each position,” Keys said. “I give a lot of credit to my coaches for their efforts,” Keys said.
“We have a deeper talent pool to choose from now, and while we might not get the No. 1 guy on our list, the No. 2 guy is just as good.”
The Oilers have spent the last three years building depth at all positions, reducing the need to rely heavily on newcomers.
But Keys told each recruit to come in ready to challenge for a starting job. If they are good enough to play, he will have them on the field in some capacity.
Osborn is ready to accept that challenge, but realizes it will take a lot of work to make the jump from high school to college.
“I’m going to have to put in a lot of time to be successful at the next level, but all of the work is worth it,” Osborn said.
“I have to hit the weight room more, eat right and just get in the best shape possible. I’m looking forward to the opportunity in front of me.”
2014 UF Recruiting Class
Jake Allton, wide receiver, Ashland; Rhonald Houston, wide receiver, Orange; Mike Campbell Jr., running back, Vermillion Catholic (La.); Terrance Cole Jr., defensive back, Toledo Springfield; Forrest Boyd, quarterback, Vermilion; Dorian Hunter, linebacker, Springfield; Andrew Alten, offensive …read more

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Prep Basketball Standings

PREP BOYS BASKETBALL
Blanchard Valley Conference
League Overall
Arlington 7-0 11-2
Liberty-Benton 6-1 12-4
Van Buren 5-2 10-6
McComb 5-2 9-7
Leipsic 4-3 8-8
Pandora-Gilboa 3-4 3-14
Vanlue 2-5 6-10
Arcadia 2-5 5-10
Cory-Rawson 1-6 2-12
Hardin Northern 0-7 1-16
Three Rivers Athletic Conference
League Overall
Toledo St. John’s 11-0 15-4
Toledo Central Catholic 9-1 14-2
Findlay 8-3 14-4
Lima Senior 4-6 6-9
Toledo Whitmer 4-6 6-10
Fremont Ross 3-6 8-7
Toledo St. Francis 3-8 5-12
Oregon Clay 0-12 2-17
Midland Athletic League
League Overall
Carey 7-0 14-3
Old Fort 6-0 12-4
Fremont St. Joseph 5-1 8-8
Hopewell-Loudon 5-2 9-8
New Riegel 5-2 6-9
Tiffin Calvert 3-4 4-11
North Baltimore 2-4 7-9
Fostoria St. Wendelin 2-6 6-9
Mohawk 1-5 3-14
Lakota 1-6 6-11
Seneca East 0-6 0-17
North Central Conference
League Overall
Buckeye Central 8-1 14-2
Colonel Crawford 7-2 13-3
Galion 6-4 9-8
Upper Sandusky 6-4 9-9
Bucyrus 5-5 11-7
Riverdale 3-6 6-10
Wynford 2-7 4-11
Crestline 1-9 3-13
Northern Buckeye Conference
League Overall
Lake 8-1 15-1
Rossford 8-1 11-4
Eastwood 6-3 10-5
Genoa 6-4 8-9
Otsego 4-5 9-9
Elmwood 3-6 4-12
Woodmore 2-8 2-15
Fostoria 1-8 2-13
Northwest Conference
League Overall
Convoy Crestview 4-0 16-0
Spencerville 5-1 11-4
Lincolnview 4-1 8-8
Paulding 3-2 12-4
Columbus Grove 3-2 10-6
Bluffton 2-3 8-8
Delphos Jefferson 1-4 9-7
Allen East 1-5 5-11
Ada 0-5 4-10
Northwest Ohio Athletic League
League Overall
Archbold 4-1 12-4
Wauseon 4-1 11-5
Bryan 4-1 9-6
Delta 3-1 10-4
Liberty Center 3-2 12-4
Evergreen 2-2 8-6
Swanton 1-4 7-9
Patrick Henry 1-4 4-13
Montpelier 0-6 1-14
Putnam County League
League Overall
Columbus Grove 5-1 10-6
Miller City 4-1 11-6
Ottoville 4-1 7-10
Kalida 3-1 9-7
Leipsic 2-2 7-8
Continental 1-3 5-11
Fort Jennings 0-5 4-13
Pandora-Gilboa 0-5 3-14
Western Buckeye League
League Overall
Defiance 5-1 14-2
Elida 5-1 13-3
Lima Bath 5-1 12-3
Celina 5-1 11-5
Ottawa-Glandorf 4-2 11-6
Van Wert 2-4 8-8
Lima Shawnee 2-4 5-12
St. Marys Memorial 1-5 6-10
Kenton 0-5 4-10
Wapakoneta 0-5 2-13
Other NW Ohio
League Overall
Heritage Christian 0-0 7-5
PREP GIRLS BASKETBALL
Blanchard Valley Conference
League Overall
Liberty-Benton 8-0 15-1
Leipsic 7-1 16-3
Arcadia 6-2 12-4
Arlington 6-2 12-5
McComb 4-4 11-8
Pandora-Gilboa 4-4 10-8
Van Buren 2-6 3-15
Cory-Rawson 1-6 6-11
Hardin Northern 1-6 2-14
Vanlue 0-8 3-15
Three Rivers Athletic Conference
League Overall
Toledo Notre Dame 10-1 13-3
Lima Senior 7-3 14-3
Toledo Whitmer 6-3 12-4
Oregon Clay 6-4 11-7
Toledo Central Catholic 5-5 11-6
Fremont Ross 2-6 8-7
Findlay 2-9 2-16
Toledo St Ursula 0-8 3-11
Midland Athletic League
League Overall
Carey 7-0 16-1
New Riegel 7-1 15-1
Old Fort 5-1 13-4
Tiffin Calvert 5-2 10-5
Fostoria St. Wendelin 4-3 13-4
Mohawk 4-4 8-8
Hopewell-Loudon 3-4 9-9
Seneca East 2-6 8-10
North Baltimore 2-6 7-11
Lakota 1-7 5-12
Fremont St. Joseph 1-7 3-12
North Central Conference
League Overall
Riverdale 11-1 15-4
Wynford 11-1 15-3
Bucyrus 8-4 15-5
Upper Sandusky 7-5 9-8
Buckeye Central 5-7 8-10
Colonel Crawford 3-9 3-15
Galion 3-9 3-15
Crestline 0-12 2-16
Northern Buckeye Conference
League Overall
Elmwood 10-1 13-5
Genoa 8-3 14-5
Rossford 8-4 12-6
Otsego 6-4 8-9
Woodmore 6-5 7-11
Lake 5-5 8-9
Eastwood 1-12 2-15
Fostoria 0-11 1-16
Northwest Conference
League Overall
Convoy Crestview 6-0 15-1
Allen East 6-0 13-4
Columbus Grove 4-2 12-6
Bluffton 4-2 10-7
Ada 2-4 7-10
Delphos Jefferson 2-4 7-10
Lincolnview 2-4 7-11
Paulding 1-6 5-12
Spencerville 1-6 2-12
Northwest Ohio Athletic League
League Overall
Archbold 7-0 17-1
Evergreen 6-1 13-4
Delta 5-2 11-7
Wauseon 4-2 9-9
Bryan 3-3 8-9
Swanton 3-5 8-9
Patrick Henry 2-4 5-11
Liberty Center 0-6 3-14
Montpelier 0-7 4-15
Putnam County League
League Overall
Leipsic 6-0 16-3
Ottoville 5-2 9-8
Columbus Grove 4-2 12-5
Pandora-Gilboa 4-2 10-8
Continental 3-3 9-8
Kalida 2-3 7-11
Fort Jennings 0-5 2-15
Miller City 0-6 1-15
Western Buckeye League
League Overall
Lima Bath 7-0 16-1
Ottawa-Glandorf 6-1 15-2
Van Wert 5-2 16-4
Wapakoneta 5-2 10-7
Elida 4-3 7-9
Lima Shawnee 3-4 7-10
Kenton 2-5 6-11
Celina 2-5 3-15
St. Marys Memorial 1-6 3-14
Defiance 0-7 3-14

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