KETTERING — Wayne’s history making season came to an end with a 58-37 loss to Mason in the Ohio High School Division 1 regional tournament Wednesday night at Kettering’s Trent Arena.
The Wayne girls basketball program reached many milestones this season. A 24 game winning streak, a GWOC Central Division title, and a district title are great accomplishments for a team that won only five games last season.
Although the ultimate goal was to get to the state tournament the Lady Warriors put themselves on the Ohio High School basketball map by compiling a 25-2 overall record and garnering a No.4 ranking according to the AP Ohio High School girls basketball poll. Starting three freshman, and two sophomores, the expression, “try again next year” is not just a nice cliché, but words that carry great possibilities and high expectations for a Wayne team that finished just a couple of games shy of reaching their prize, a chance to play in Columbus.
With Wayne down by just five points at the half Mason came out in the third quarter and put together a big run in which the Warriors could not recover. Mason’s length, depth and experience were just too much for the youthful Warriors to handle. Destiny Bohanon led a valiant effort for Wayne scoring 19 points while Shai McGruder added 7 points in the loss.
“I think it’s more difficult for me to see the girls disappointed in the loss more than anything,” said Coach Sonya Miller. “They worked so hard, they are obviously young. Everybody talks about that we are going to be back. It was a job well done. We anticipated the length (of Mason) would be a problem for us tonight, but we thought we would do better on the boards and getting out in transition, hoping it would be a track meet. It didn’t happen the way we thought. Hats off to Mason for a job well done.”
Mason jumped out to a 5-0 lead but Wayne soon answered as Bohanon scored on a floater in the lane. On the next Wayne possession Bohanon saved the ball from going out of bounds and tossed it back to an open Mali Morgan-Elliott for the layup to cut the lead to 5-4. Mason came right back with three consecutive baskets to extend the lead to 12-4. Wayne answered again with a McGruder basket and a Bohanon three point play to cut the lead to 12-9. Both Wayne and Mason traded baskets in the final minutes ending the first quarter with the Comets out in front 19-13.
With Mason leading 22-15 McGruder got the offensive rebound and drew the foul. McGruder hit both free throws to narrow the lead to 22-17. At the 4:18 mark in the second quarter Maria Campbell hit a bucket for Mason to extend the Comets lead to 24-17. Wayne fought back as Bohanon got the offensive rebound and put back, followed by a McGruder jumper to cut the lead to 24-21 a with 2:39 remaining in the second quarter. Both teams struggled to score in the final minutes, but with 15 seconds remaining Jailyn Mason got a hoop to give Mason a 26-21 halftime advantage.
Mason started the third quarter with two quick baskets extending the lead to 30-21. Wayne came back with a Morgan-Elliott drive to the hoop followed by a Dunson basket in traffic to cut the lead to eight points. But that’s when Mason made its move going on a 13-2 run that extended the lead to 18 points as the Comets took a 45-27 advantage at the end of the third quarter. Wayne never recovered as Mason built a strong lead the rest of the way handing the Lady Warriors their second loss of the season and ending any hopes for a state tourney run. Leading scorers for Mason were Sammie Puisis with 15 points and Lauren Van Kleunen with 11 points.
“I’m very proud,” said Coach Miller concerning her team. “They just really came out of junior high and on to the big stage. To be able to play at this level, to be on a 24 game winning streak up until now, I couldn’t be prouder. One of the things we told them is we lose with dignity, but the experiences that you’ve had this season there is not a lot of freshman and sophomores that can say the same. They had a heck of a season we were able to continue to win while we were teaching and learning on the court. Tonight we just came up short.”
WAY 13 21 27 37 – 37
MAS 19 26 45 58 – 58
Wayne: Mali Morgan-Elliott 4, Kloe Muntz 3, Destiny Bohanon 19, Shai McGruder 7, Maya Dunson 4. Totals: 14-6-37.
Mason: Maddie Nosek 2, Jailyn Mason 8, Samari Mowbray 9, Sammie Puisis 15, Lauren Van Kleunen 11, Mariah Campbell 8, Ti Fulton 5. Totals: 20-9-68.
3-point goals: Wayne 1 (Muntz); Mason 3 (Puisis 2, Mowbray).
Records: Wayne (25-2), Mason (24-2)
Reach Steve Granata via email at: email@example.com