|Raiders punch ticket to BGSU, take district title 53-25|
By Kevin Wannemacher
VAN WERT — Wayne Trace put together a total team effort for 32 minutes and dominated Green Meadows Conference rival Ayersville for a 53-25 victory over the Pilots in Division IV district championship at Van Wert High School Friday night.
In doing so, the Raiders did a complete 180-degree turnaround from Tuesday’s win over Pettisville, putting their best effort of the season to date in at a pivotal time.
The red-white-and-blue led from start to finish and used a sterling defensive effort to keep Ayersville from getting into any rhythm offensively.
“It was a total team effort,” commented Raider head coach Jim Linder. “We really played well on the defensive end of the floor and the other thing was we controlled the boards. Those were two key areas and everybody played their roles tonight.”
Ayersville came into the contest having out-rebounded its opponents by 230 boards on the season.
On Friday, it was the Raiders that controlled the glass, posting a 37-24 advantage that played a big part in the Wayne Trace success.
“We knew coming in that we had to do a good job of being aggressive, and I thought we did that,” Linder continued. “We rebounded well as a team tonight and that was big for us.”
While the Raider defense controlled the Pilots, Wayne Trace’s offense turned it up a notch in the second quarter.
The Raiders led 9-4 after eight minutes of action but used an eight-point run midway through the second quarter to take control.
Leading 11-8, consecutive baskets by Devin Wenzlick and Ethan Linder, a free throw from Corbin Linder and an old-fashioned three point play by David Sinn stretched it to 19-8.
Ayersville did get within 21-12 late in the first half on a Trey Bauman free throw but Colby Speice connected on a 3-point field goal just before halftime to make it 24-12, Raiders, at the break.
“That was a huge shot,” added the Raider coach. “It gave us the momentum there just before halftime after they had cut into the lead a little bit.”
With the Raider lead at 26-16 early in the third quarter, Wayne Trace got consecutive baskets from Corbin Linder, Wenzlick and Ethan Linder to extend the margin to 32-16 with 5:36 left in the period.
Following a Pilot timeout, the Defiance County squad quickly cut the deficit to 32-20 after baskets from Kevin Zimmerman and Dauson Dales.
However, the Raiders answered with a trey from Corbin Linder that ignited an 11-0 run and pushed the Wayne Trace lead to 43-22 at the end of three periods.
The red-white-and-blue forced nine Pilot turnovers in the stanza, a fact not overlooked by the Raider head coach.
“Our defensive pressure was as good as it has been all year tonight,” commented the elder Linder. “We challenged our kids to step up and raise their level of play and they did that. I am really proud of these kids and the way they played tonight.”
Wayne Trace left no doubt in the fourth quarter.
The Raiders scored the first ten points of the final period before cruising to the 53-25 final.
“I am very proud of this basketball team and the effort they gave tonight,” concluded the Raider head coach.
Ethan Linder led a very balanced Raider effort with 15 points while Corbin Linder added ten. Wenzlick chipped in eight points for the red-white-and-blue with Speice and Sinn recording seven each.
Wenzlick also led Wayne Trace on the boards with eight followed by Jake Arend with seven and Ethan Linder picked up six. Speice dished out five assists and added three steals while Ethan Linder and Sinn posted two assists and two steals a piece.
On the night, the Raiders connected on 24-of-46 shots (52 percent) and Wayne Trace committed fewer turnovers, 16-18. Ayersville was limited to 11-for-38 shooting (29 percent) from the field.
Trey Bauman closed his Pilot career with eight points while Dauson Dales and senior Kevin Zimmerman chipped in six points each. Senior Luke Lawson had two points in his final game and Gage Odom picked up a rebound in his last game in an Ayersville uniform.
Bauman also had six boards and three steals for the Pilots, who close their season with a record of 18-8.
Wayne Trace (22-3) returns to action on Tuesday as the Raiders play Buckeye Central (23-2) at 6:15 p.m. in the Stroh Center on the campus of Bowling Green State University. The Bucks defeated Sandusky St. Mary’s 67-60 in the district championship at Willard on Friday.
RAIDER TICKET INFORMATION – Tickets will be sold in the library at the west entrance to the high school beginning at 7:00 a.m. on Monday. Starting at 7:30 a.m., tickets will be available to those with coach passes or GMC passes as well as junior varsity players and cheerleaders.
Persons with Wayne Trace all-sports passes or season ticket holders may purchase tickets starting at 8:30 a.m. Student cheering section tickets will be sold from 9:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. on Monday.
On Monday evening, the general public may purchase tickets from 3:30 p.m. until 6:30 p.m. Tickets also will be available from 7:30 a.m. until 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday morning. No reserved seat tickets will be sold after 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday.
Student cheering section tickets will be available between 9:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday.
All presale tickets are $6.00 and all tickets at the door will be $8.00.
Score by quarters
Ayersville 4 8 10 3- 25
Wayne Trace 9 15 19 10- 53
Wayne Trace (53)
Miller 0, Glass 0, E. Linder 15, C. Speice 7, Shepherd 0, Arend 2, C. Linder 10, Vest 0, Wenzlick 8, Sinn 7, Blackmore 2, J. Speice 2