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Wayne Trace, Ayersville to decide district title
Friday, March 07, 2014 10:00 AM

By Kevin Wannemacher

HAVILAND — For the third time in seven seasons, Wayne Trace and Ayersville will face off in a tournament game as the two schools get set to do battle in a Division IV district championship game at Van Wert High School on Friday, March 7.

The two squads enter the contest on opposite ends of the spectrum.

The Pilots come in after whipping fellow Green Meadows Conference member Edgerton 57-35 in Tuesday’s district semifinal contest, getting 20 points from freshman Dauson Dales along with a dozen points by Luke Lawson.

Brayton Martin and Trey Bauman chipped in 10 and seven points, respectively, for the Pilots. Wayne Trace, meanwhile, struggled mightily before pulling away late in a 47-37 win over Pettisville.

Ayersville has won six of its last seven games, including a winning three of its final four regular season games. The Raiders and Pilots squared off in regular season play in Defiance County on January 16. In that contest, the Pilots led 13-10 after one quarter and 33-19 at the intermission only to see Wayne Trace come storming back.

The Raiders pulled into a 42-42 tie after three periods before pulling away for a 67-53 win.

Martin had 21 and Bauman posted 13 in that first meeting, a contest that also saw the Pilots hit only 12-of-27 free throws on the night. Ethan Linder led four Raiders in double digits with 19 while Colby Speice scored a dozen.

Corbin Linder and Devin Wenzlick each had 11 for Wayne Trace. The Raiders also forced 26 Pilot turnovers in that contest while committing 17.

Other Pilot losses on the year have come to Miller City (50-30), Evergreen (47-46), Paulding (53-45), Tinora (69-50), Kalida (61-47) and Liberty Center (52-47). The Pilots are 11-3 away from their home court this season.

After finishing 5-2 in GMC play during the regular season, the Pilots are 3-0 in tournament action after posting victories over conference foes Hicksville and Antwerp in the sectional tournament.

Bauman, a 6-foot-2 senior, paces the Pilots with 14.4 points per game while junior Martin (6-foot-0) adds 11.9 points a contest. Dales, a 5-foot-11 guard, also records 8.8 points a night for Ayersville, which is 18-7 on the season.

One area that has been a strength for the Pilots is the boards. Ayersville has out-rebounded its opponents 706-474 on the season, averaging nearly ten rebounds a game more than its opponents.

Bauman also leads the Pilots on the boards with 7.6 bpards per game followed by senior Kevin Zimmerman with 4.3 and Dales at 3.8. Lawson and Martin top the Defiance County squad with 98 and 88 assists, respectively, while Bauman (39) and Dales (31) are the top two Pilots in steals.

The Pilots have been susceptible to turnovers, committing 330 this season compared to their opponents’ 280. Another area of concern for Ayersville is the free throw line, where the Pilots have converted only 58 percent (282-for-486) of their attempts this season.

Individually, Martin (63-for-78, 80 percent) and Bauman (79-for-116, 68 percent) are the only two Pilots over 60 percent on the year.

Martin is also the Pilots’ top three-point threat, connecting on 53-of-142 attempts this season (37 percent). Bauman has added 17-of-46 (36 percent) shooting from beyond the arc.

While the two squads have 11 common opponents this year, Ayersville has a record of 10-4 against those teams while Wayne Trace is a perfect 12-0 against the same competition.

On the Raider side, junior Corbin Linder leads the way at 14.4 points per game while younger brother Ethan, a freshman, chips in 13.8 points a game.

Colby Speice (7.4 points a night), Devin Wenzlick (6.1 ppg) and David Sinn (5.7 ppg) round out the top five scorers for the Riders.

Wenzlick tops the Raiders with six boards a night with Ethan Linder, Speice, Jake Arend, Corbin Linder and Sinn all getting three a contest.

Speice tops the Raiders with 83 assists and 60 steals on the year and Ethan Linder chips in 52 assists and 55 steals. Corbin Linder has posted 54 helpers and 36 steals for Wayne Trace, which stands at 20-3 on the year.

The Raiders have currently posted seven straight victories and are 10-2 away from the home.