TROY — Olivia Trice scored 20 points and Shai McGruder scored 18 points to lead Wayne over Ponitz 80-23 in the second game of the Southwest District Sectional Tournament Tuesday night at Troy High School.
Although Ponitz was no match for the mighty Lady Warriors it didn’t stop Wayne from bringing their “A” game from start to finish. Trice and McGruder were not the only players providing the fire power; Destiny Bohanon added 14 points and was relentless on defense along with Trice. The duo wreaked havoc on Ponitz ball-handlers all night. Maya Dunson also contributed 13 points in the win. Wayne, who improved to 23-1 showed no signs of a lack of purpose as the Warriors seem to be a team on a mission.
“I think what really helps is that they approach every game the same way regardless of the opponent,” said Coach Sonya Miller. “I like the energy, the effort, and we teach the standard is who we are, we’ve built it on a certain standard all the way up to this point so it doesn’t matter who the opponent is we have to prepare to play every single time we step on the court. They seem to be up for every game. There is not a whole lot of motivation you need to do with this team. They come ready to play.”
Wayne came out of the gate scoring on their first three possessions sparked by a 3-pointer from Maya Dunson. Wayne rolled out to a 14-0 lead. A barrage of Warrior steals in the final minute of the first quarter, one by Bohanon and another by Mali Morgan-Elliot helped to lift Wayne to a 26-6 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Wayne started out the second quarter scoring 10 unanswered points that featured a Trice steal and basket, a McGruder steal and basket, and a Bohanon steal and bucket to extend the Lady Warriors lead to 36-6 with four minutes remaining in the half. The Wayne defense continued to get the best of Ponitz as Wayne continued to surge ahead fueled by a basket from Deja Scott and two consecutive baskets by McGruder to take a 44-13 advantage at halftime.
Wayne never slowed down taking a commanding 62-17 lead at the end of the third quarter. To start the fourth quarter Wayne continued to force turnovers as Trice got a steal and scored, Bohanon got another steal and scored, then Trice nailed a 3-pointer to put the game on ice as the Warriors rolled to their 22nd consecutive win.
“The mentality and culture we have built at Wayne has been around the fact that we can beat anybody,” Miller said concerning her team. “I don’t think that is over confident, I don’t think it’s cocky, it’s just that we have to be able to know that when we step on the court with anyone. I think they have belief in not only themselves, but the team as a whole.”
Wayne will play the winner of Centerville (16-7) vs Lebanon (16-7) on Saturday, Feb.19, 2 p.m. at Troy High School.
WAY 26 44 62 80 – 80
PON 06 13 17 23 – 23
Wayne: Mali Morgan-Elliott 6, Kloe Muntz 3, Deja Scott 2, Kiara Herring 2, Destiny Bohanon 14, Olivia Trice 20, Shai McGruder 18, Maya Dunson 13, Sydney Billingsley 2. Totals: 34-3-80.
Ponitz: Tabitha Romaine 3, Rickia White 4, Destinee Gaston 8, Sha’Tori Boggs 2, Myeesha Hall 6. Totals: 8-4-23.
3-point goals: Wayne 3 (Muntz, Trice, Dunson); Ponitz 1 (Gaston).
Records: Wayne 23-1, Ponitz 3-17
Reach Steve Granata via email at firstname.lastname@example.org