TROY — Wayne caught everyone off guard Monday night at Troy in the girls Division I sectional final against Springboro.
Most expected the Lady Warriors to play their typical fast paced attack, but it never materialized. Olivia Trice buried a 3-pointer to put Wayne up 3-0 and the Lady Warriors never surrendered the lead on their way to a 41-30 victory.
Wayne advances to district tournament play Saturday, March 3 at 1 p.m. at Princeton High School and will most likely play Cincinnati Mount Notre Dame.
Springboro came into Monday’s sectional final riding a 12 game win streak at 21-3 overall and many expected the Lady Panthers to dominate Wayne, which had a somewhat up and down season and entered the game at 14-9 overall.
The Lady Warriors executed the game plan engineered by their coaching to perfection to secure a convincing victory.
Leading 10-6 after the first quarter and 16-15 at halftime, Wayne got back-to-back 3-point field goals to open the third quarter from freshman Aubryanna Hall to take a 22-17 lead. Hall finished the game as the leading scorer with 13 including a trio of 3-pointers.
“Aubryanna is special. The college coaches see it and they understand she has an awful lot of tools,” Wayne Coach Travis Trice said. “She can score, she can handle the ball, she can rebound, she can block shots, she defends well and she is still a pup. She is just now understanding the game. It has been a rough year for her mentally just for the fact that we have thrown so much at her and she had to be in the starting lineup. In other circumstances she might have been our sixth or seventh player, but she had to learn a lot quicker.”
Trice credited Hall for sticking with the process he had been preaching to the team all season.
“Our moto all year has been trust,” Trice said. “Trust the process. We played a lot of people early in the season and we didn’t look so good on offense while we were trying to figure out what we were trying to do. We played defense a little bit differently and that’s an awful lot to absorb, especially for a freshman. She had a really good game tonight. She hit two big threes to start that second half and I am really proud of her.”
Hall’s third 3-pointer of the night put Wayne up 29-21 with 1:49 remaining in the third quarter.
The fourth quarter opened with Wayne holding a six point lead. Senior forward Maya Dunson took a pass just past midcourt and bobbled the ball twice under intense pressure from the Springboro defense. Once she got the handle along the sideline Dunson drove straight to the basket to increase the lead to 31-23.
Springboro countered with a basket by Karlie Winship and the Lady Panthers regained possession on a jump ball that could have swung the momentum their way. Hall blocked a Springboro shot and then the teams both turned the ball over on ensuing changes of possession.
With 4:50 remaining Wayne started playing keep away by passing the ball around the horn. Springboro began to commit fouls but up until that point there had only been one foul called the entire second half. After Springboro’s fourth foul Destiny Bohanon took an inbounds pass while breaking towards the hoop. The pass was placed perfectly over the reach of a Springboro defender and Bohanon laid the ball in off the glass on the layup to boost Wayne’s lead to 33-25 with 3:01 remaining.
Down the stretch the Lady Warriors went eight for eight from the free throw line and were 10 for 10 overall from the charity stripe to secure the 11 point victory.
“Coach Benji (Tom Benjamin) does a great job with his team and we knew they had a lot of seniors and that they run an awful lot of sets and we really didn’t want to have to defend all of those sets the entire game,” Trice explained about his team’s methodical attack.
“We watched other teams play them and we figured we could slow them down a little bit by changing up our zones and by throwing in a little man defense in there. It was just about effort,” Trice added. “We really wanted to focus on not giving them second shots, limiting their post touches and I thought we did a pretty good job of that for the most part. The bigger part was that we wanted to be patient on the offensive end. We felt like if we came down the floor and put up quick shots and they put us on defense for a while we might be in trouble. We felt if we could play from the lead it would be hard for them to guard us and luckily we hit some shots and stayed in the lead late in the game and it worked to our advantage.”
WAY 10 16 29 41 – 41
SPRB 06 15 23 30 – 30
Wayne: Nyla Hampton 3-2-8, Aubryanna Hall 3-4-13, Kyra Willis 1-0-2, Destiny Bohanon 2-4-8, Olivia Trice 2-0-6, Maya Dunson 2-0-4. Totals: 13-10-41.
Springboro: Whitney Wituski 0-1-1, Kennedy Lewis 3-2-8, Jordan Diehl 4-2-11, Lauren Thomas 0-1-1, Rachel Gillum 2-0-4, Jordan Hobbs 1-0-3, Kalie Winship 1-0-2. Totals: 11-6-30.
3-point goals: Wayne 5 (Hall 3, Trice 2); Springboro 1 (Diehl).
Records: Wayne 15-9, Springboro 21-4.
Reach Ron Nunnari at 684-9124, via email Rnunnari@aimmediamidwest.com or on Twitter @Englewood_Ind