By Kevin Wannemacher
Times Bulletin Business Manager
PAULDING — Senior point guard Devin Stark scored seven straight Edgerton points down the stretch to lift the Bulldogs to a 59-56 victory over Wayne Trace in Division IV girls sectional basketball action at Paulding High School on Wednesday evening.
It was the second time this year that Stark took over a game late to beat the Lady Raiders. The senior also scored all ten of the Edgerton points in double overtime last week to lift the maroon-and-gold to a 61-57 win in Green Meadows Conference action.
“She did what she had to do at the end,” noted Raider head coach Bethany Hughes of the Bulldog point guard. “She hit the free throws down the stretch, and just made positive things happen for them when she had the ball.”
The loss brought to an end the careers of five Wayne Trace seniors. Brenda Feasby, Madison Poling, Lauren Speice, Brooke Wilcox and Sylvia Young all wore the Raider uniform for the last time Wednesday night.
“I am proud of the way the girls played hard to the end,” Hughes continued. “We had five seniors that have meant a lot to this team. The girls battled and didn’t give up even though we were behind, and we had an opportunity there at the end.”
Trailing 59-56 with 10.5 seconds left, the Raiders forced an Edgerton turnover as Wilcox picked off a Bulldog pass. Following a timeout with seven seconds remaining, the Lady Raiders got a good look, but Erin Mohr’s 3-point attempt was off the mark and Edgerton ran out the clock to seal the victory.
Speice topped the Lady Raiders with 21 points and 10 rebounds on the night while Mohr added 18 points to go along with four steals and four boards. Shayna Temple chipped in seven points for Wayne Trace with four rebounds.
Feasby recorded five points, three rebounds, two assists and two steals with Poling adding four points, four boards and two assists. Young picked up three rebounds and Wilcox had a pair of steals in their final game.
Wayne Trace took its first lead of the game with 1:24 left in the opening half when a Mohr bucket off of a Temple assist made it 27-25.
However, Edgerton answered with a Jaime Newman bucket before Brooke LaLonde hit one of two foul shots late in the second quarter for a 28-27 Bulldog lead at the intermission.
Two Speice foul shots started the second half scoring, giving the Raiders their final lead at 29-28.
The Bulldogs answered with seven straight points. Two Stark buckets and a Hannah Herman trey quickly put the maroon-and-gold on top 35-29.
“Several times they would make a run to get it to six, but the girls rallied each time and we worked our way back,” added the Raider mentor.
Wayne Trace tied the contest at 37-37 with two Speice free throws at the 1:20 mark of the third quarter, but a Stark trey put Edgerton top 40-37. Stark added another basket just before the buzzer to put the Bulldogs on top 42-39 entering the final period.
“She seemed to score every time they needed it,” Hughes commented.
Edgerton took a 45-39 lead on a LaLonde free throw before Wayne Trace would again rally.
Two Speice foul shots, a Poling free throw and a Mohr basket got the red-white-and-blue within 46-44 at the 5:46 mark.
With the Bulldogs in front 51-45, a Mohr bucket and two Speice charity tosses trimmed the deficit to 52-49 with 1:20 left in the contest.
After a pair of Stark free throws, Temple added a basket to keep Wayne Trace within three at 54-51 with 1:03 on the clock.
Edgerton widened the margin to six, its biggest lead of the night, for the sixth time following a LaLonde foul shot but Mohr’s second trey kept the Raiders within striking distance at 59-56.
Stark, who finished with 26 points in the first meeting of the two squads, topped that performance with 27 points to push the Bulldogs into the sectional championship.
Stark also added four rebounds and four steals for Edgerton, which moves to 16-6 on the season. The Bulldogs play Green Meadows Conference co-champion Ayersville (19-3) at approximately 8:00 p.m. Saturday at Paulding High School.
LaLonde chipped in a dozen points for the Bulldogs with Herman adding eight points and six rebounds.
Wayne Trace nipped Edgerton on the boards 30-28 but also had 19 turnovers compared to the Bulldogs’ 17. Edgerton was 21-for-45 from the field (47 percent) while the Raiders were 18-for-43 (42 percent).
The Raiders close the season with a record of 13-10.
“Overall, I am pretty pleased with the season,” concluded Hughes. “There are some games that could have gone the other way, but, for the most part, I am pretty happy with how the girls played this year. We have room for improvement for next year, and the girls coming back know they have to get better. We graduate five seniors and they leave some large holes to fill for us.”
Score by quarters
Wayne Trace 11 16 12 17- 56
Edgerton 14 14 14 17- 59
Wayne Trace (56)
Mohr 18, Temple 7, Speice 21, Wilcox 0, Feasby 5, Poling 4, Young 1, E. Sinn 0
Herman 8, Sack 0, Stark 27, Newman 6, Fritch 0, LaLonde 12, Sullivan 2, Walker 4