BY ANDY ROWER | MIRROR SPORTS — Anthony Wayne’s boys basketball team captured a sectional championship with a 65-52 win over Findlay at Fostoria High School on March 2. “We want to play harder than our opponent can even dream,” said AW coach Josh Arthur. “Play so hard that they get frustrated. Findlay is good. They have three great guards, but our guys worked their tails off. “I couldn’t ask for a better group of guys than I have in that locker room. I’m just very excited for them. They just want it really bad.” The No. 6 Generals never trailed in the contest and jumped out to an immediate 12-1 lead on first-quarter baskets by senior guard Josh Boyer, junior guard/forward Max Denman and classmate and forward Max Bradfield. “Right from the start, I thought we came out with a lot of intensity,” Denman said. “We all came out here just flying around and having fun. We all came out loose and I think that helped.” Anthony Wayne still led 21-10 about halfway through the second stanza when the Trojans made their only real run of the night. Led by a trio of 3-pointers by junior Ryan Roth over a 1:03 stretch, Findlay clawed all the way back to within a mere point with 2:35 remaining in the opening half. Seemingly unfazed by the Trojans’ showing, the Generals answered back by scoring 12 of the game’s next 14 points on additional buckets from Denman, as well as senior guard Andrew Murphy. “In crunch time, I don’t think anybody lost their heads,” Denman said. “We were all playing together. Everyone was sharing the ball. Everybody was getting good shots off. Everybody was scoring.” Findlay junior Ryan Nunn connected on a jumper just before halftime, and the Trojans continued to stick within nine points of AW through much of the third frame. With just 42 seconds to go, though, the Generals closed the quarter out with an offensive flurry that saw six straight points, including an assist from senior center Alex Ruhe to junior forward Ben Allen, a Ruhe slam dunk and another Denman basket near the buzzer. The Trojans thrice more inched their way back within 10 points of Anthony Wayne through the first 4:00 of the fourth, but that’s as close as the Generals let them get. Boyer, Bradfield, Denman and Murphy combined to push the score to 60-45 at the 1:19 mark, allowing AW to cruise to its 13-point win with the ensuing free throws. The Generals ended up converting 20 of their 27 attempts from the foul line. Anthony Wayne also made an impressive 48 percent of its shots from the field, including five treys, outrebounded Findlay 26-19 and committed just eight turnovers while improving to 16-7. “I thought we struggled early on with their big guys, but then we were able to spread them out a little bit more – which helped us rebound a lot more,” Arthur said. Denman led the way with a solid overall game that included 23 points, seven boards, five assists, two steals and a blocked shot. “Max Denman was awesome in the first half,” Arthur said. “He’s really grown a lot and progressed in getting to the basket.” Murphy added 17 points, six rebounds and two steals, Bradfield had 10 points and two boards and Boyer contributed nine points and three rebounds. Allen and Ruhe both scored two more Generals points and senior guard Brock Nartker posted a point and three boards while providing excellent defense on the Trojans’ Roth. “We know Brock is relentless on the ball,” Arthur said. “He thrives on challenges. He wants that challenge and he saw that challenge with Ryan Roth. We know how good of a shooter Ryan is.” Junior forward Chip Gottschalk netted another point and senior guard Elijah Lomax, junior forward Nick Smith and sophomore guard Kyle Ray combined for four rebounds, an assist and a block while helping AW advance on to play No. 7 Lima Senior. “It’s exciting to play another day and to play Lima Senior,” Arthur said. Denman agreed. “Everybody is doing what they have to do,” he said. “Everybody is playing hard. We’re all just doing it for each other right now. If our shots keep on going in like they did tonight, I think it’s going to be hard to beat us.” Roth paced Findlay with 19 points and Nunn followed with 17 points, five assists and four boards. Senior Jacob Logsdon scored six more points, senior Isaac Schumm totaled five points and three rebounds and classmate Adam Gutting chipped in three points and nine rebounds, despite the loss.