HUBER HEIGHTS — Last year the Wayne basketball team won it’s first ever state title and has the goal to win a second state title this year.
“I don’t think there’s any doubt in my mind that we have enough talent returning to win another state championship,” said Wayne Coach Travis Trice. “…We know what it takes to get there and a lot of times it’s just about having the pieces to be able to work for you—we have enough pieces if everyone stays healthy and we legitimately have a chance to win another state championship.”
Trice said some games will be played close together after the first three games of the season were postponed due to the football team’s trip to the state final on Saturday. As of press time, the roster for the 2015-1016 squad was still fluid due to the football team competing at state.
Trice said the squad has a great schedule this season that includes Massillon Jackson, a top five or 10 team in the state. That contest will be on Saturday, Jan. 30 at Wilmington.
The Warriors will also host Detroit East English Village at 6 p.m. on Dec. 19, a top five team in Michigan, a team Trice called “real athletic” with a lot of Division I and Division II players.
‘It’s a great team that can test us early,” said Trice. “They are a very, very good team…They are going to be a very, very tough match up for us.”
The Warriors will be competing in the Arby’s Classic in Bristol, Tenn., an 18-team field featuring teams from eight states, including another Ohio squad, Mentor as well as teams from North Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Canada, Maryland, Kentucky, Germany and New York. Wayne is slated to play an opponent from Union, Va. in their first game at 5:30 p.m. on Dec. 28. Trice said this Classic features a lot of “good competition” and the Warriors could play up to four games “which is something we’re definitely looking forward to to test ourselves.”
Wayne follows that tournament on Saturday, Jan. 9 by hosting St. Ignatius at 6 p.m., a squad that Trice called a “very, very good team” with a lot of returnees, athleticism and heighth.”
Another key match up will be held on Saturday, Jan. 16 against IMG Academy at 8:30 p.m. at Trent Arena in the Flyin To the Hoop Tournament. Trice said that IMG is playing a “big time schedule” and will be “very good” with the ninth ranked player in the country, a 6-10 forward who committed to Florida State and a wing player who committed to the University of Georgia. Also on that team is Coach Trice’s son, D’Metrik Trice, who played as a senior last year on Wayne’s state championship squad.
“He’s definitely gotten bigger, gotten stronger, and really is working on developing his game,” said Coach Trice. “We’re really looking forward to the match up.”
In the Greater Western Ohio Conference, Trice said Springfield returns a lot of players with a good corps of players who contributed to them reaching the regional final last season and will probably be the “biggest team” in the GWOC this year. Springfield defeated Moeller 51-47 in the regional semifinal before falling to Wayne 67-60 in the regional final.
“I’m expecting big competition out of them,” said Trice.
Centerville had a lot of turnover, but Alter’s best player transferred to play with the Elks this year.
“We’ll be anxious to see what their team looks like this year,” said Trice, who indicated that Northmont and Beavercreek are in a bit of a rebuilding process.
Trice said the league will be very competitive, but he feels that Wayne is the favorite and the team to beat.
Trice was asked how rewarding it was last year to win the state title.
“It was very rewarding because those were guys that had been with us and were a big part of the success of this overall program and what it’s grown into,” said Trice. “And to see D’Metrik and Ahmad Wagner and Xeyrius Williams and Hadith Tiggs go out the way that they did was a tremendous attribute to our team where they contributed to the community of Huber Heights. I was really excited to see them go out that way — we had a great group of kids, and not only that, we just had a great season because those guys really cared about each other, they worked hard for each other and they had a great year all the way around.”
Last year’s team accrued an overall record of 26-4 and one of the highlights was a 76-68 overtime victory over the top ranked team in the country, Findlay College Prep.
Wayne won the GWOC Central title with a 9-1 record with its only loss coming to Centerville, a 73-69 overtime loss in the final regular season game.
Wayne defeated Lakewood St. Edward 57-51 in overtime in the state semifinal before handling Westerville South 65-57 in the state final.
Trice said he is excited for this team to come back and get a change to reprove themselves. He said a lot of people might think Wayne is in a rebuilding mode, because of the players that graduated, but said Wayne has enough guys returning with the addition of Chaz George who transferred from Stivers and others from the football team that did not play basketball last year, that makes him very excited about the outlook for Wayne this year.
Friday, Dec. 11 at Beavercreek 7:30 p.m.
Friday, Dec. 18 at Northmont 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 19 Detroit E. English Village Prep 6 p.m.
Monday, Dec. 21 Fairborn 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday, Dec. 23 Fairmont 7:30 p.m.
Monday, Dec. 28 at Arby’s Classic 5:30 p.m. vs. Union, Va. in Bristol,Tenn.
Tuesday, Dec. 29 at Arby’s Classic TBA
Wednesday, Dec. 30 at Arby’s Classic TBA
Thursday, Dec. 31 at Arby’s Classic TBA
Friday, Jan. 8 Springfield 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, Jan. 9 St Ignatius 6 p.m.
Tuesday, Jan. 12 Meadowdale 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, Jan. 16 IMG Academy 8:30 p.m. Trent Arena
Friday, Jan. 22 at Centerville 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, Jan 23 Fairborn 7:30 p.m.
Tuesday, Jan. 26 Trotwood-Madison 7:30 p.m.
Friday, Jan. 29 Beavercreek 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, Jan. 30 Massillon Jackson TBA at Wilmington HS
Tuesday, Feb.. 2 Northmont 7:30 p.m.
Friday,Feb.. 5 at Springfield 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, Feb.. 6 at Greenville 7:30 p.m.
Tuesday, Feb.. 9 at Fairmont 7:30 p.m. Trent Arena
Friday, Feb. 12 Centerville 7:30 p.m.
Reach Greg Smart at 937-684-8088 or on Twitter @HH_Courier.com