HUBER HEIGHTS — A short-handed Wayne Warriors team started out slowly and picked it up in the second half, but their late rally came up just short as they fell to the Springfield Wildcats for the second time this season 56-54.
Springfield Senior guard Danny Davis had his way early, scoring 12 of Springfield’s 18 first quarter points. Nine of Davis’ 12 first quarter points came on 22-foot jumpers, one a bank shot while under duress.
Isaiah Trice was the closest thing to a go to scorer for Wayne in the first half but the scoring was distrusted essentially across four players. Wayne struggled to get a rhythm on offense and didn’t really solve Danny Davis until deep into the second half.
Springfield led Wayne 31-22 at the half but it could have been a lot worse; Springfield was one of eight from the free-throw line in the first half.
The Wildcats came out in the second half and extended their lead to as much as 14 points midway through the third quarter, but Wayne went on a 16-2 run to end the third quarter as Isaiah Trice led the charge catching fire from behind the arc with three contested buckets. The run pulled Wayne to within 3 points of Springfield at 45-42.
Wayne continued it’s comeback by going on a 7-1 run in the fourth quarter, led by an increase of defensive intensity and Darius Quisenberry pushing the ball up the court and feeding his teammates. Springfield could not match the intensity, but Danny Davis was just too much down the stretch. Davis had two critical free throws and two crucial three pointers late in the game.
With Wayne up 54-52 with 1:34 left in the game Springfield came down and couldn’t find an opening so it called a timeout to set up a play. Springfield inbounded the ball and passed to the high post to 6-foot, 7-inch Leonard Taylor, pulling in extra defenders to keep him from getting into the lane. This left Danny Davis open on the wing. Taylor kicked the ball over to Davis and he drained the three-pointer for a 55-54 Springfield lead with 44 seconds left.
Wayne took the ball down and played for a final shot inside of 5 seconds. Wayne got exactly what it wanted as dribble penetration drew the defense and Wayne had a man under the rim all alone. The ball was bobbled a bit but the shot went up and didn’t make it over the rim.
Springfield got the rebound and the foul. Springfield made one of the free throws. Wayne’s Quisenberry pushed the ball up court and put up a desperation three at the buzzer that rebounded of the backboard and clanged off the side of the rim, falling harmlessly as the GWOC National East Champion Wildcats and their fans celebrated an unprecedented sweep of Wayne.
Wayne held its own against Springfield and made a statement, since it was without leading scorer L’Christian Smith, another body in Matt Palma and another key player in Chandler Fointno. Smith was sorely missed as Springfield had the advantage in the paint all night with Leonard Taylor patrolling and senior guard Mike McKay swatting just about everything Wayne put up in the paint.
Wayne Coach Travis Trice knew his team really didn’t have anything to play for but never the less this game had some value.
“We found out some things about some of the other guys…so now they’ve been in that situation, so once we get Blue back, once we get Chandler back and Matt [Palma] in the tournament, now you’re fully loaded. I saw some great things. I saw some great fight and our guys are getting better,” Trice said.
Wayne showed a lot of fight and toughness, which is what a team needs going into the postseason. All of the records are thrown out and its win or go home starting in two weeks. But up next for Wayne is a trip to Centerville next week to take on the Elks in the season finale. Springfield heads to Columbus Northland tomorrow to take on the Vikings.
SPR 18 35 41 56 – 56
WAY 12 22 42 54 – 54
Springfield: Mike McKay 10, JaJuan Rodgers 2, Mike Wallace 4, Danny Davis 26, Dominique Parks 1, Leonard Taylor 7, RaHeim Moss 4, JaJuan Fulkner 2. Totals: 19-10-56.
Wayne: Isaiah Trice 19, Deshon Parker 9, Darius Quisenberry 11, Ray James 10, Ronnie Hampton 2, Rashad McKee 3. Totals: 18-12-54.
3-point goals: Springfield 8 (Davis 5, McKay 2, Taylor); Wayne 6 (Trice 3, Parker 2, Quisenberry).
Records: Springfield 16-2 (9-1), Wayne 14-7 (7-4).