ARCHBOLD — Without a girl over 5-7 on the roster, the Wayne Trace girls basketball team has had to win in non-traditional ways this season and have been successful at it.

The Lady Raiders did so again Thursday night as Wayne Trace used a stifling defensive effort and harassed Pettisville all night long in rolling to a 65-41 victory over the Blackbirds in Division IV district semifinal action at Archbold.

Wayne Trace forced the Blackbirds into 24 turnovers on the night and outscored the Blackbirds 46-22 in the second half to clinch a spot in Saturday’s district championship game against Stryker (20-4) at 7 p.m.

Although the scoreboard didn’t necessarily show it, the seeds of the Raider defensive effort started to show late in the first half as Wayne Trace wore down the Blackbirds.

“I thought we were able to wear them down tonight,” noted Raider head coach Bethany DeJarnett. “Our pressure was a big factor all game long but we did a better job of taking advantage of those mistakes in the second half.”

Wayne Trace attacked the basket much more in the second half, an area that was emphasized after the two teams played to a 19-19 halftime tie.

“It was something we talked about,” continued the Raider coach. “We wanted to go to the basket instead of settling for shots and I thought we were much more effective once we did that.”

The Raiders opened the second half with eight straight points, getting 3-pointers from Gracie Gudakunst and Claire Sinn to start the half. Two free throws by Claire Sinn mixed in with a pair of Brooke Sinn baskets helped Wayne Trace open up a 31-23 advantage that would continue to expand.

“We definitely came out and played much better in the second half,” added DeJarnett. “We got some good efforts out of Brooke (Sinn) and Gracie (Gudakunst) and did a much better job of taking care of the basketball in the second half.”

After committing 11 first half turnovers, the Raiders had only two in the second half. Meanwhile, Pettisville committed at least five turnovers in each quarter with 11 miscues in the second half after 13 in the first two quarters.

The Raiders closed the quarter with consecutive baskets by Sadie Sinn before a Gudakunst bucket extended the advantage to 39-24 at the end of three periods. Pettisville did close to within 41-28 early in the final period after a basket by Morgan Leppelmeier, but the Blackbirds would get no closer.

A 3-pointer by Brooke Sinn put Wayne Trace on top 44-28, and the Raiders took over at the free throw line the rest of the way. Wayne Trace hit 19 of 20 foul shots down the stretch, sealing any doubt that the Raiders would move on. Wayne Trace finished the game 22 of 26 at the foul line.

“It is an area that we focus on and the girls have really done a good job at the free throw line all year,” DeJarnett continued. “Everybody stepped up and hit free throws for us tonight.”

The Raiders got another solid effort from sophomore Claire Sinn, who finished with 19 points, six rebounds, two assists and two steals.

Gracie Gudakunst added 18 points for Wayne Trace while dishing out five assists and picking up two steals. Brooke Sinn added 10 points.

“We need to have those kind of efforts,” concluded the Raider head coach. “I am proud of the girls tonight but they also understand that we have a big game coming up on Saturday as well.”

Miriam Sinn and Sadie Sinn each pitched in 6 points for Wayne Trace, which moves to 21-3 on the season.