Local Sports

Thursday, January 24, 2013

TRAC Basketball: Rucki wants FHS to play with more urgency
By DAVE HANNEMAN

sTAFF WRITER

Seems like every team that Findlay High's boys basketball team plays these days has a chip on their shoulder and something to prove.

But that approach can be a double-edged sword.

"Hopefully, they are saying the same about us," FHS coach Jim Rucki said as the Trojans prepared to host Toledo Whitmer on Friday in a key Three Rivers Athletic Conference contest.

Findlay traveled to Toledo Central Catholic on Tuesday to face a Fighting Irish team coming off back-to-back TRAC losses.

Fired up and aggressive from the start, Central Catholic dominated early and cruised to a 63-42 win.

Friday, Findlay will face a Whitmer team in a similar frame of mind.

The Panthers entered Tuesday's game with Toledo St. John's ranked No. 4 in the state and tied for the league lead. But they fell just short (52-51) and now like Findlay (8-5, 5-2) and Central Catholic (9-2, 5-2), Whitmer (11-3, 6-2) is looking to get back on track and stay on the heels of St. John's (12-3, 7-1) in the TRAC standings.

Findlay handed St. John's its lone league loss (61-59) a week before Christmas.

But the Trojans struggled offensively in nonleague losses to Defiance (40-31) and Ottawa-Glandorf (53-43) and had to overcome an 18-4 deficit to beat Lima Senior 51-50, winning it on Michael Clark's 3-pointer with three seconds left.

"I thought we got better over the holidays, but we've regressed a little bit," Rucki said.

"We just want to be able to come out and perform like we can perform. We want to play like we did the first time against Whitmer, play like we did against St. John's. We've not done that recently."

To that end, Rucki's focus this week is not on Toledo Whitmer and Nigel Hayes, the Panthers' 6-7 senior standout who is headed to Wisconsin on a basketball scholarship.

"We going to talk very little about Whitmer. We're going to work very little on Whitmer. We're worried about getting ourselves back on track, figuring out what we can do to get that corrected," Rucki said.

Rucki's focus will not be on the Xs and Os as much as the intangibles he noticed in earlier games.

"It's intensity. It's energy. But the word I use all the time is urgency. We need to play with a little more urgency," Rucki said.

"We've played poorly, so we should have something to prove on our own floor. We have to come out and play like we're capable of playing."

Hanneman: 419-427-8408,

davehanneman@thecourier.com


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