Colby Speice floats a shot during Wayne Trace’s 66-56 win over Antwerp on Friday night in Haviland. Speice was held to four points, but added four rebounds and five assists in the win. (Times Bulletin/ Jim Bowers)
By Kevin Wannemacher
Times Bulletin Business Manager
HAVILAND – Wayne Trace got out to exactly the start it wanted, scoring the first 15 points of the game and grabbing a 23-5 lead over visiting Antwerp after one quarter.
However, the Raiders had to withstand a furious Archer rally and got big second-half efforts from David Sinn and T.J. Blackmore to post a 66-56 Green Meadows Conference win at the ‘Palace’ Friday night.
With the win, the red-white-and-blue moves to 14-1 overall and 5-0 in the conference to remain atop the league standings. Antwerp drops to 10-6 in all games and 2-3 in the GMC.
Early on, it was all Raiders. Jake Arend scored the game’s first two baskets and Ethan Linder added seven straight points as Wayne Trace quickly posted a 15-0 advantage.
After the Archers Trenton Copsey scored to get the blue-and-white on the scoreboard, an Ethan Linder basket and three Corbin Linder free throws pushed the margin to 20-2. Arend would add another bucket and Blackmore added a free throw as Wayne Trace posted a 23-5 lead at the end of one quarter.
“We just didn’t come out ready to play,” noted Antwerp head coach T.J. Hammer. “I think we came out a little tentative and Wayne Trace took advantage of that. They are a good basketball team, and you can’t dig a hole like that against them.”
Antwerp, though, chipped away at the deficit in the second quarter.
With Wayne Trace on top 30-9 early in the period, two Copsey free throws and a trey by Kaden Brumett trimmed the Archer deficit to 30-14.
Two T.J. Blackmore baskets extended the Raider advantage to 34-16, but Antwerp wasn’t done. A Brumett bucket followed by a 3-pointer from Sam Williamson got the Archers within 34-21 before an Arend basket made it 36-21.
The blue-and-white scored the final five points of the quarter, highlighted by a Copsey basket and two Brumett free throws, to trim the Raider lead to 36-26 at the intermission.
“You have to give Antwerp a lot of credit,” noted Wayne Trace head coach Jim Linder. “We were able to get the start we wanted but they were able to hit some shots and get right back in it.”
“I am proud of the effort and the way we battled back and really played with them for three quarters,” Hammer noted. “I told the guys that I was very pleased with the way they competed.”
Antwerp opened the second half with two straight treys by Brumett to pull within 36-32.
“We got it down to four,” Hammer added. “They made some plays there when they had to and that is what good teams do.”
The Raiders answered with nine straight points, using a trey by Ethan Linder and an old-fashioned three-point play from Devin Wenzlick to take a 45-32 advantage.
Two Sinn baskets and a Wenzlick bucket pushed the margin to 51-36 before Wayne Trace went on to post a 56-41 lead entering the final stanza.
The Raiders led by as much as 17 in the final quarter, getting three straight Blackmore buckets to go on top 62-45.
Antwerp would make one final run to pull within 64-56 on a Williamson 3-pointer, but the Raiders iced the victory with two Colby Speice free throws to wrap up the 66-56 victory.
“It’s a good league win for us,” noted the Raider mentor. “These kids have played through a lot of adversity this year with all of the schedule changes and so many games in a week. But they have continued to play hard and do what we ask them to do.”
The victory kept the Raiders a game ahead of Tinora, who moved to 4-1 in the league with a win at Ayersville. Wayne Trace winds up the GMC portion of the schedule with a road game at Edgerton on Friday before hosting Hicksville on February 17.
Ethan Linder led the Raiders with 15 points with Blackmore adding 13 and Arend chipping in 11. Wenzlick topped the Raiders on the boards with six followed by Sinn, Blackmore and Speice with five rebounds each. Speice also dished out five assists and recorded three steals. Sinn and Corbin Linder both added four assists.
“T.J. made some big plays for us tonight,” concluded the head coach of Wayne Trace. “David Sinn came in and rebounded and hit some key shots. We need guys to continue to come in and make plays like that. Getting those kinds of efforts is a key for us.”
Brumett scored 16 points to top the Archers while Williamson and Copsey bucketed 14 each. Copsey also had seven rebounds for the Archers and Brumett chipped in five boards and three steals.
Wayne Trace’s junior varsity moved to 13-2 on the season and 5-0 in the league with a 46-19 win over the Archers.
Alec Vest and Justin Speice both had eight points for the Raiders while Gabe Wobler chipped in seven. Speice also picked up seven boards in the win. Matt Jones recorded ten points for Antwerp.
Score by quarters
Antwerp 5 21 15 15- 56
Wayne Trace 23 13 20 10- 66
Brumett 16, Smalley 6, Stout 3, Williamson 14, Jones 0, Copsey 14, Messman 3
Wayne Trace (66)
Miller 0, E. Linder 15, C. Speice 4, Shepherd 0, Arend 11, C. Linder 9, Vest 0, Wenzlick 7, Sinn 7, Blackmore 13, J. Speice 0