VANDALIA — The Wayne Warriors overcame a slow start and surged past the Centerville Elks 60-46 at Butler High School to advance to the district final. Wayne returned the favor to Centerville as last year Centerville ended Wayne’s season almost to the day in last year’s tournament.
“It was big, anytime you play Centerville in a third game. We have so much respect for coach Cupps and the Centerville program and what they do. They’re one of our rivals in our division,” said Wayne Coach Nathan Martindale. “We have to play our very best every game in the tournament if we expect to move on. It’s one and done. If we don’t handle our business, we don’t get a redo.”
Centerville gave Wayne all it could handle in the first half, but Wayne responded with a strong third period to take control of the game. In the first period, Centerville used patience on the offensive side of the court and a pesky defense to pull out to a quick 5 point lead and maintain it throughout the first period. Centerville senior forward Jevon Henderson was a force in the low post that Wayne had no answer for. Henderson scored 8 of Centerville’s 13 first period points and prevented Wayne from getting second-chance points by consistently pulling down rebounds and keeping Wayne off of the offensive glass. The Elks led 13-8 at the end of the first period.
In the second period, Centerville continued the pressure on Wayne but was not as successful on the offensive side of the court. The Warriors couldn’t seem to get any consistency in the first half as the Elks kept Quisenberry and Deshon Parker from being able to make plays and force long shots from L’Christian Smith, half of which found their mark. Smith scored 5 of his Wayne’s 11-second period points and Quisenberry was able to get on in the books with a couple of drives near the end of the half. One of Quisenberry’s drives resulted in two made free throws after a foul and the other was a tough shot in traffic. Wayne cut into the Centerville lead to end the half, now trailing 22-19.
A different Wayne team showed up in the second half. It was the team that earned the number one seed in the region and only lost one game this season. This team has been missing so far in the tournament.
Wayne came out with a new intensity. Quisenberry went on an 11 point tear, most of the points coming in the paint. Most of the first half Wayne didn’t drive the lane or pass the ball down low, it got enamored with the three-pointer but the shots were not falling. In the second half, Wayne took it to the Centerville defense like not many teams have done this year. Wayne also clamped down on Henderson and held him scoreless in the third period.
Wayne put up 24 points on Centerville in the third period. Rashad McKee contributed 8 points to compliment Quisenberry’s 11 and McKee’s clutch three-pointer in the closing seconds of the period extended Wayne’s lead to 43-35.
In the fourth L’Christian Smith was much more active on both sides of the court. His defense held Henderson in check early in the fourth and he scored 6 hard earned points to open the period. Wayne played keep away for a minute and a half and ended the possession with a Smith dunk to extend its lead to 12 points.
From that point on Centerville was forced to foul Wayne and hope it missed the free throws and then go down and score. Things didn’t work out that was as Quisenberry was 6 of 6 at the line and Deshon Parker was 3 of 5 and Wayne’s defense wasn’t giving up uncontested shots like it did in the first period.
With about a minute and a half left in the game, Wayne did basketball’s version of the victory formation, taking its starters out and putting in what equates to a JV squad. Centerville allowed its starters to leave the court to an ovation and put a JV team in itself. Neither bench squads added anything to the final score, Wayne 60 Centerville 46.
“We battled with them in the first half, we kind of made some adjustments at halftime. I thought our kids just came out in the second half and they just willed us to victory. I talk about these guys all of the time but Darius Quisenberry, Deshon Parker, L’Christian Smith, Ronnie Hampton, Rashad McKee all of those guys played as hard as those could play for me in the second half”, Martindale added. “I’m just proud of my guys. I have a great coaching staff and some great kids. They trusted the game plan. We have a great relationship and I think that showed tonight in the second half. They trust me. They know I love them and they love me back. When you have that relationship and they trust you, they follow the game plan and eventually we were able to make some good things happen in the second half.”
Oak Hills plays St. Xavier tomorrow at 7 p.m. at Lakota West High School and the winner will face Wayne next Saturday at UD Arena (time to be determined).
CEN 12 22 35 46– 46
WAY 8 19 43 60– 60
Centerville: Donnie Shelton 5, Matt Pearce, Alec Grandin 8, Ryan Marchal 5, Davis Mumaw 3, Jevon Henderson 18. Totals: 19-2-46.
Wayne: Deshon Parker 10, Darius Quisenberry 21, L’Christian Smith 15, Ronnie Hampton 6, Rashad McKee 8. Totals: 20-15-60.
Three-point goals: Wayne 5 (McKee 2, Smith 2, Quisenberry); Centerville 6 (Grandlin 2, Marchal, Shelton, Pearce, Mumaw).
Records: Wayne 23-1 (11-1), Centerville 13-11 (7-5).