Perrysburg’s Matt Kaczinski shoots against Findlay during their Division I district semifinal on Thursday night in Tontogany. His shot gave the Yellow Jackets a late lead that stood. THE BLADE/KATIE RAUSCH
OBJECTd3ec3284-da9a-476d-8aa0-fd79bd9d088eTONTOGANY — Perrysburg senior Matt Kaczinski knows his role on the boys basketball team, so when he found himself open for a jumper late in Thursday’s Division I district semifinal, he knew what to do.
“Coaches say every day in practice that midrange is my shot, and that’s pretty much all I work on in the offseason,” Kaczinski said. “I just came around off a pick and was confident, and it went in.”
Kaczinksi’s shot put Perrysburg up one over Findlay with 1 minute, 41 seconds, left and the Yellow Jackets held on to win 41-38.
Perrysburg senior Matt Mesker stole the ball and converted a layup with 1:13 left in the game for a 41-38 lead.
PHOTO GALLERY: Perrysburg downs Findlay in D-I district semifinal
After a defensive stop, Yellow Jackets senior Nick Moschetti missed a layup and allowed for a final Findlay possession.
The Trojans’ Braden Miller and Adam Twining both missed 3-pointers that could have forced overtime.
Moschetti led Perrysburg with 21 points, including 11 in the first half, Kaczinski added 10, and Nate Patterson scored eight.
Moschetti was forced to sit on the bench for the final five minutes of the first half after picking up two fouls. The Yellow Jackets cut into a six-point deficit and went into halftime down 20-19.
“We kept our composure on offense and made a few extra passes and made some big plays on defense, and we were able to stay right there,” Perrysburg coach Dave Boyce said of his team’s play without Moschetti.
“They ended up up by one at halftime, but it was obviously a big five minutes.”
After Miller hit a 3-pointer to open the second half for Findlay, Perrysburg answered with a 14-0 run to close out the third quarter.
“That third quarter, they missed some shots,” Boyce said. “We were able to get the rebound and run a little bit. We scored in transition, I think, three or four or five times. They shot the ball well overall, but there was that stretch where they didn’t, and we rebounded it very well and were able to push it and get a little separation.”
Findlay fought back in the fourth quarter, taking the lead at 38-37 with 2:22 left after two free throws by Twining and a transition 3-pointer by Michael Clark.
Twining and Grant Niswander led the Trojans with 11 points each.
“Our guys responded,” Findlay coach Jim Rucki said of his team’s comeback in the final quarter. “They didn’t want to be done. We came out and made a couple shots and got a couple defensive plays and were able to comeback and get the lead.”
That set the stage for the two late plays by Perrysburg, ending what was a thrilling game.
“It was really good when we had both sides going back and forth, and it was loud,” Moschetti said. “That’s what we want in a basketball game. It was just a lot of fun to go out there and participate in it.”
Perrysburg will face Mansfield Senior in the district final game at 7 p.m. Saturday at BGSU.