Wayne Trace forward Jake Arend takes a jumper in this file photo. Arend and the Raiders take on Buckeye Central in the regional semi-finals on Tuesday night. (TB file photo)
Wayne Trace forward Jake Arend takes a jumper in this file photo. Arend and the Raiders take on Buckeye Central in the regional semi-finals on Tuesday night. (TB file photo)
By Kevin Wannemacher
Times Bulletin Business Manager
HAVILAND — Wayne Trace makes the trip to Bowling Green State University on Tuesday night for the Division IV boys regional tournament in the Stroh Center as the Raiders square off with Buckeye Central in the 6:15 p.m. contest.
Wayne Trace is coming off of a 53-25 rout of Green Meadows Conference rival Ayersville in the district tournament at Van Wert High School on Friday, a night that saw the Raiders play arguably their best game of the season. However, it will take similar efforts in the regional to move on, as the four teams come into the tournament with a combined record of 92-6.
The Raiders, now 22-3 on the season, will take on Buckeye Central (23-2) in the first game of the night. Buckeye Central, nicknamed the Bucks, defeated Sandusky St. Mary’s 67-60 in the district final at Willard High School Friday night.
Buckeye Central is led by a pair of 5-11 senior guards in Cade Kaple and Austin Wurm.

Kaple, a first team District 6 selection and a second team AP all-district player, averages 14 points per game for the Bucks and is the floor general for Buckeye Central. Kaple is second on the squad with 24 3-pointers this year.
“He is very good,” noted Raider head coach Jim Linder. “He runs the show for them. From what we’ve seen on tape, he is definitely the one they look to lead the team and get them in position to be successful.”
Wurm tops the Bucks at 18.8 points per game and has connected on 58 treys this season. Wurm was a second team player on the District 6 squad while also selected on the AP all-district third team.
Senior center Sam Robertson also averages in double figures at 10.5 points a night.
“Wurm is their shooter and we have to be very aware of him,” added the Raider mentor. “They have some good shooters and we are going to have to know where they are defensively.”
Senior guard Stone Wurm chips in 7.2 points a game for the Bucks followed by sophomore forward Grant Loy (6.9 ppg) and junior center Seth Ollis (6.5 ppg). Loy is not expected to play, however, due to injury.
Others expected to see significant playing time for the Bucks include sophomore guard Scott Heydinger (4.0 ppg), junior forward Cole Stacklin (3.9 ppg), junior forward Ray Stahl (3.0 ppg), sophomore forward Brice Brenneman (2.0 ppg) and sophomore guard Nash Ehresman (2.0 ppg).
“They are a very good basketball team,” Linder continued. “We have to go in and do what we do better than them. We need to execute, play good defense and be aggressive on both ends of the floor.”
The two losses for Buckeye Central came to Colonel Crawford and Carey. The Eagles got past the Bucks 60-48 on December 20 in North Robinson while Carey defeated Buckeye Central 79-66 on February 1 in Carey. Buckeye Central currently is 5-0 in games decided by less than ten points on the year and the Bucks are 12-2 away from home this year.
Buckeye Central opened the year with five straight victories before falling at Colonel Crawford. The Bucks then ran off nine wins in a row, dropped a game at Carey, and has won nine straight since.
“We are going to have to play well,” Linder added. “We need to come out focused and mentally ready to play for 32 minutes. There are no easy ones at this point. Everybody is very good.”
The red-white-and-blue is led in scoring by junior Corbin Linder and freshman Ethan Linder.
Corbin scores 14.4 points per game and has recorded 55 assists and 38 steals. Younger brother Ethan adds 13.8 points a contest and has dished out 54 assists while recording 57 steals. Senior guard Colby Speice adds 7.4 points a night and leads the team with 88 assists and 63 steals.
Senior forward Devin Wenzlick leads Wayne Trace with 6.1 rebounds per game while chipping in 6.2 points a contest.
Linder is also hopeful that the experience of making the long tournament run in football is an asset to the basketball team. The Raiders also have played in 15 games decided by ten points or less, winning 13 of them.
“We’ve got some guys that went through the run by the football team, and we need to use that experience to help us,” concluded the Raider head coach. “We’ve had to deal with adversity all year, and I think it has prepared us to play in these kinds of games.”
The winner of Tuesday’s contest returns on Friday to play either Crestview or Ottawa Hills in the regional championship.