Wayne Trace senior Ethan Linder scores two of his game-high 33 points during the Division III district championship game at Lima Senior on Saturday. (DHI Media/Jim Bowers)
Wayne Trace senior Ethan Linder scores two of his game-high 33 points during the Division III district championship game at Lima Senior on Saturday. (DHI Media/Jim Bowers)
LIMA - A poor start. A resounding rally. Big plays back and forth all night long. Missed free throws at crucial times. And a last second shot for the win.

The Division III district championship between Wayne Trace and Marion Local featured a little bit of everything Saturday night at Lima Senior High School. Marion Local’s Nathan Bruns hit a 3-pointer from the right wing with two seconds remaining to give the Flyers a 66-65 victory.

The win sends Marion Local into the Division III regional semifinals at Bowling Green State University.

On the flip side, the loss brings to an end the stellar career of Wayne Trace senior Ethan Linder. The University of Findlay recruit finished with 33 points in his final game in a Raider uniform, adding 5 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 steals.

In all, 10 missed free throws proved to be too much to overcome for the Raiders, who were 6 of 16 from the foul line.

“We finish with three losses by a total of four points, all with shots against us in the final seconds,” said Raider head coach Jim Linder. “We were right there in all three of them and just couldn’t make enough free throws.”

Leading 64-58, Wayne Trace had opportunities to put the game away from the foul line but the Flyers came up with some huge shots on the other end. A basket by Bruns and a 3-pointer from Matt Rethman brought Marion Local within 64-63 before Linder hit one of two foul shots to make it 65-63. Following a Flyer miss and two Raider free throws that were off the mark, it was the Flyers who scored the final points.

After a Marion Local timeout, Bruns broke free through a screen and took the pass before setting up for the 22-foot jumper that hit nothing but net.

“It was a battle,” said Jim Linder. “Our kids battled and battled all night and we made a lot of plays tonight. They just made one more at the end than we did.”

Early on, the Flyers hit five of six 3-pointers in the opening quarter in grabbing quick leads of 10-2 and 16-5. After a 3-pointer from Tyler Prenger widened the lead to 23-10, Wayne Trace rallied with nine straight points to end the first quarter. Seven consecutive points by Eli Sinn cut the deficit to 23-17 and a Josh Kuhn basket off of an Ethan Linder assist pulled the Raiders within 23-19 after eight minutes of action.

Wayne Trace opened the second quarter with seven consecutive points, getting a 3-pointer from Brady Stabler and baskets by and Josh Kuhn to go on top 26-23.

The Raiders opened their biggest lead of the first half at 42-36 midway through the period on a Linder hoop. After a Jake Kuhn 2-pointer put Wayne Trace on top 48-40, the Flyers scored nine of the next 11 points to get within 50-49. The Raiders looked to take back control late in the quarter as Josiah Linder connected on a 3-pointer to give Wayne Trace a 55-51 lead entering the final eight minutes.

Along with Ethan Linder, six other Raider players saw their careers come to an end in a Wayne Trace uniform. Brady Stabler, Jayden Sherry, Jon Sinn, Blaine Jerome, Seth Yenser and Kolyn Hilkey all saw their careers close on Saturday.

“I am proud of the effort tonight,” said the Raider head coach. “We just came up short against a good basketball team. Our seniors have a lot to be proud of, winning four conference championships as well as four sectional championships.”

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WAYNE TRACE (65)

Brady Stabler 3-6 0-2 7, Eli Sinn 4-12 1-2 9, Ethan Linder 12-19 4-6 33, Jon Sinn 0-1 0-2 0, Jake Kuhn 4-6 1-2 9, Josh Kuhn 2-3 0-2 4, Josiah Linder 1-2 0-0 3; Totals 26-49 6-16 65

MARION LOCAL (66)

NathanBruns 7-12 2-6 19, Collin Everman 0-4 0-0 0, Matt Kahlig 2-5 0-0 6, Ryan Thobe 0-0 0-0 0, Tyler Mescher 4-8 7-8 15, Tyler prenger 5-10 2-3 15, Matt Rethman 3-6 0-0 9, Kyle Koenig 1-1 0-0 2; Totals 22-48 11-17 66

Wyane Trace 19 25 11 10 - 65

Marion Local 23 15 13 15 - 66

3-point field goals: WT 7-15 (ELinder 5, JLinder, Stabler), ML 11-20 (Prenger 3, Rethman 3, Bruns 3, Kahlig 2); Rebounds: WT 23 (JaKuhn 6), ML 37 (Bruns 16); Assists: WT 12 (ELinder 5), ML 18 (Kahlig/Everman 5); Turnovers: WT 5, ML 14