VANDALA — Miamisburg came out ready to play Tuesday at Butler in the boys Division I sectional tournament at Butler High School. Lathan Hartman took the ball right through the heart of the Wayne defense to give the Vikings an early lead.
The Warriors countered with a 3-pointer by Darius Quisenberry (20 points) and a few possessions later ramped up its press to create three consecutive steals and baskets to overcome a 9-7 Vikings’ lead. L’Christian Smith came up with two of those steals and accentuated his second with a dunk to put Wayne on top 13-9.
Junior point guard Kort Justice scored seven first quarter points and sophomore center Duncan Hall had six to keep Miamisburg within four by the end of the first quarter.
Wayne had too many weapons and a defense that forced too many turnovers as the Warriors went on to post a 70-60 victory, but not without having to work for it.
Wayne committed six fouls in the opening eight minutes of play resulting in Warriors’ fans voicing their displeasure with the officiating crew.
The Warriors led 36-30 at halftime, but Miamisburg fought back to close the gap to 51-47 at the end of the third quarter when Smith got called for goaltending on a 3-point shot by Brett Hensley. The goaltending call was made well after the quarter ended. Miamisburg fans harangued the officiating crew, which met to discuss the play. After about 30 seconds Miamisburg was awarded the basket, which pleased Vikings’ fans while at the same time infuriating the Wayne faithful. It didn’t take long for that anger to boil over.
Less than nine seconds into the fourth quarter an official standing near the sideline about to hand the ball to a Miamisburg player turned around and ejected a Wayne fan. The fan refused to leave until a Butler worker and Wayne Athletics Director Jay Minton intervened.
When play resumed Justice buried a trey to cut Wayne’s lead to 51-50. Smith (18 points) countered with a dunk and after a pair of free throws by Lathan Hartman the Warriors’ Deshon Parker buried a 3-pointer to put Wayne up 56-52. Evan Fox later nailed a trey to cut Wayne’s lead to 57-56, but Wayne held the ball without making a pass for more than a minute as Miamisburg stood idle. That proved to be the turning point in the game.
From there Wayne sank nine of 14 free throws and Miamisburg committed two turnovers and missed three shots, including a layup, as the Warriors cruised to the 10 point victory.
Smith had three dunks and gave Wayne a presence inside that was too much for Miamisburg to handle. The Warriors also converted 25 of 33 shots from the free throw line.
“Justice made some plays tonight,” said Wayne Coach Travis Trice. “We really didn’t see him that much until the other night when we scouted them. He had a good game. I thought we needed to do a better job defensively. Give him credit. He made some shots.”
Trice said he didn’t even notice Smith’s dunks, but rather focused on his team’s overall performance.
“I can’t even focus on the dunks. The fact that we went 25 of 33 from the free throw line is more important,” he said. “We haven’t been a good free throw shooting team for most of the year. These guys have worked extremely hard so to see them bounce back and shoot free throws well was big for us. Blue (Smith) give us a whole different dimension. He scores the ball around the basket, which is something that has been lacking for us, but he did a really good job with it.”
Miamisburg coach Tim Fries was pleased with the performance he got from Justice.
“He played fearless. He wasn’t worried about anything but getting the job done,” Fries said. He acknowledged Wayne’s press was the determining factor.
“That was the best pressure we’ve seen in a long time, and they brought waves of it to us,” Fries added. “They are so deep so it’s not like they are going to wear out. They are just going to keep it up and that intensity level stayed there. I think there were a couple of times where we strung together a few too many turnovers and they took advantage of it. Smith gave them a dominant post presence against our zone and that hurt us. He is a man inside.”
Wayne advances to face Centerville on Friday, also at Butler at 7:30 p.m. The Elks defeated Bellefontaine 57-42 Tuesday night. Wayne and Centerville split their two meetings during regular season play.
MBG 16 30 47 60 – 60
WAY 20 36 51 70 – 70
Miamisburg: Kort Justice 23, Evan Fox 5, Lathan Hartman 14, Drew Barry 7, Brett Hensley 3, Duncan Hall 8. Totals: 18-19-60.
Wayne: Isaiah Trice 4, Deshon Parker 12, Darius Quisenberry 20, Ray James 5, L’Christian Smith 18, Ronnie Hampton 5, Rashad McKee 6. Totals: 21-25-70.
3-point goals: Miamisburg 5 (Justice 2, E. Fox, Barry, Hensley); Wayne 3 (Quisenberry 2, Parker).
Records: Miamisburg 11-13, Wayne 15-8.
Reach Ron Nunnari at 684-9124, via email Rnunnari@civitasmedia.com or on Twitter @Englewood_Ind