HUBER HEIGHTS — When Wayne (4-3, 3-1) and Centerville (3-4, 3-2) square off it doesn’t matter what the teams’ records are or where they are in the standings; you know both teams are going to compete. The Warriors kept pace early and pulled away late to secure a 47-41 victory over the rival Elks.
Wayne chased Centerville the whole first half, trailing 14-12 at the end of the first quarter and 22-20 at the half.
Centerville senior guard Matt Pierce and senior center/forward Mo Njie were a thorn in Wayne’s side. The 6-foot, 10-inch NCAA Division I recruit, Njie was a force in the low post and Pierce lit it up from the outside. Together, Njie’s 10 points and Pierce’s 6 points made up 16 of Centerville’s 22 first half points.
Wayne countered with senior forward Bobby Cole and senior guard Ronnie Hampton, with 9 points and 6 points respectively to make up 15 of Wayne’s 20 first half points.
The Warriors turned up the intensity and aggression after the break, going on a 13-6 run in the third quarter. They were able to force Centerville into turnovers with smothering defense and scored regularly with their guards.
Wayne ran out a host of defenders to frustrate Njie, shutting him out in the second half. Senior forward Bobby Cole was the main defender on Njie, working hard on the low post denying Njie the ball and challenging everything he was able to put up.
“Bobby Cole, Brian Hill, they work their tails off,” said Wayne Coach Nathan Martindale. “They did such a great job inside. We ask a lot of them going against a 6-foot, 10-inch Division I player. They just fought like crazy. I give them a lot of credit.”
On offense in the second half, Wayne’s senior guards took control of the game, scoring 20 of Wayne’s 27 second half points.
Rashad McKee probably didn’t get as much contact as he did as the starting quarterback for Wayne as he did in this game. McKee worked in the paint as well as on the perimeter, putting up 11 second half points with 6 of those coming from the free throw line.
Ronnie Hampton did what he does best, penetrating the defense and taking it to the hoop for either two points or a foul. Hampton scored 5 of his 9 second half points going 5 of 5 from the free throw line.
This was a good team win; many players contributed in ways that do not show up on the stat sheet. Wayne is starting to look more composed and decisive; something it struggled to accomplish in its first few games. There aren’t as many breakdowns on defense and the offense is much quicker than it has been in previous games.
“I thought our team chemistry was really good. Guys are really starting to buy in. That’s what we’ve been preaching from the start”, Martindale added. “We had a really good week, this week. We got Miamisburg and Centerville and we wanted to take care of our home court. I felt like we did a really good job handling our business. Our seniors stepped up big.”
The road doesn’t get any easier from here as Wayne has a home contest next Friday, December 28 against a strong undefeated Trotwood-Madison Rams team and then it travels to Sidney to take on Virginia Tech recruit Andre Gordon and the undefeated Sidney Yellow Jackets.
Centerville travels to La Salle to take on the Lancers then has to travel to Moeller to face the Crusaders.
CEN 14 22 28 41– 41
WAY 12 20 33 47– 47
Centerville: Jason Sneed 4, Ryan Marchal 5, Matt Pierce 18, Mo Njie 10, Kebba Archimalo 4. Totals: 17-4-41.
Wayne: Ronnie Hampton 15, Rashad McKee 13, Bobby Cole 9, Cam Fancher 3, Tallice Landers 4, Jordan Long 3. Totals: 15-13-47.
Three-point goals: Centerville 3 (Pierce 2, Marchal); Wayne 4 (Fancher, Long, McKee, Cole).
Records: Centerville 3-4 (3-2), Wayne 4-3 (3-1).
JV Score: Wayne 51 Centerville 36