Wayne Trace’s Grady Gudakunst takes a shot over a Paulding defender in a non-conference rivalry game between the two teams Saturday. Wayne Trace won the contest. (Times Bulletin/John Rindahl)
By Kevin Wannemacher
Times Bulletin Business Manager
HAVILAND - Dalton Sinn scored 17 points and Colby Speice added 13 to lead Wayne Trace to a 51-41 win over county rival Paulding Saturday night at the 'Palace.'
The victory ends a four-game regular season losing streak to the Panthers, and was a crucial one for the Raiders, who were coming off of a blowout loss to rival Crestview a week ago.
"It's a big win for us," noted Raider head coach Jim Linder. "It's a big win for our kids. They have worked hard this year and we needed to get a quality win early in the year like this. Paulding is a good basketball team and they are going to have a lot of success this year."
The Raiders got the win thanks in part to a huge advantage at the foul line. Wayne Trace outscored the visiting Panthers 21-3 on the night, although ten of those came in the fourth quarter as the Panthers were forced to foul.
"The foul line has been a struggle for us and it's something we have to keep getting better at," Linder continued. "I thought that we hit some big ones down the stretch when it was needed most though."
Wayne Trace looked ready to break the game open midway through the third quarter.
Leading 25-18 at the intermission, the red-white-and-blue opened the stanza with a pair of Sinn free throws and a Speice basket for a 29-18 lead. After Paulding's Lance Foor connected on one of two charity tosses, Wayne Trace added an old fashioned three-point play from Ryan Kortokrax and a trey by Corbin Linder to go on top 35-21.
"We were able to hit some shots there early in the third quarter that gave us a little bit of a lead," Linder added. "But you have to give Paulding a lot of credit for coming back the way they did."
The Raiders looked to extend the lead further as Sinn took advantage of a Raider steal and had the opportunity to add to the advantage with a pair of free throws but couldn't convert on either try.
Paulding took the missed opportunity and seized the momentum. The maroon-and-white answered with ten consecutive points to quickly slice the deficit to 35-31.
Foor ignited the Panthers, hitting a pair of treys in the stretch while adding a basket. Neil Roehrig also had a bucket for Paulding.
"We dug ourselves a hole there but I thought we did a better job of attacking them offensively to get back into the game," commented Panther head coach Shawn Brewer.
A pair of Sinn foul shots temporarily stopped the run and pushed the Raider margin to 37-31. Paulding answered with consecutive buckets from Roehrig and Julian Salinas to get within 37-35 entering the final quarter.
"As kids sometimes do, there are times where you let your guard down after you make a run like that to get back into the game," Brewer continued. "Wayne Trace is a good basketball team and they took advantage of some mistakes on our end and made us pay for them."
Paulding tied the contest on a Salinas basket to open the fourth quarter scoring before Wayne Trace responded.
Kortokrax got loose underneath for a basket to give the Raiders the lead for good, and Grady Gudakunst added one of two foul shots to make it 40-37.
Following a Panther turnover, Sinn added two more free throws to push the margin to 42-37. After a Paulding miss, Linder extended the lead to 44-37 with a basket at the 3:02 mark.
The Panthers never got any closer than five the rest of the way, trimming the deficit to 44-39 on a Salinas bucket and again at 46-41 following two Kyle Kauser charity tosses.
Wayne Trace, though, picked up their last seven points of the night from the charity stripe to seal the game.
"We will come back ready to play on Monday," noted Brewer. "We've had a couple of tough, close losses to two good basketball teams this weekend but games like these will make you better in the long run."
Foor paced the Panther efforts with 13 points and ten rebounds while also adding three steals. Salinas chipped in ten markers for Paulding and Roehrig added eight points and eight caroms. Trey Schroeder (six), Steven Strayer (two) and Kauser (two) picked up the other Panther markers.
Kortokrax and Linder each posted nine points for Wayne Trace and Gudakunst pitched in one. Gudakunst and Speice recorded five and four steals, respectively. Sinn added eight boards for the Raiders.
Paulding won the battle of the boards, 35-26, but also committed more turnovers, 23-20. The Panthers were 18 of 48 from the field (38 percent) compared to the Raiders' 14 of 35 (40 percent).
The Raider junior varsity boys also moved to 2-1 on the season with a 44-40 victory over the previously unbeaten Panthers.
David Sinn paced the red-white-and-blue with 13 points and Justin Speice chipped in nine markers. Brock Worden (eight), T.J. Blackmore (seven), Gabe Wobler (three), Cole Shepherd (two) and Jake Gerber (two) also scored for Wayne Trace. Shepherd and Speice picked up six boards each for the Raiders with Sinn dishing out four assists.
Treston Gonzales led Paulding with ten markers followed by Javier Gonzales (nine), Kaleb Hernandez (seven), Gerod Harder (six), Julian Salinas (four), Guy Harder (two) and Brad Crawford (two). Hernandez also had three steals for the Panthers, who fall to 3-1.
Wayne Trace returns to the 'Palace' for a non-league battle against Lincolnview on Saturday. Paulding hosts Montpelier in a non-league battle on Monday.