LIMA — Wayne Trace got a dozen points from Brady Stabler and Josh
Kuhn and the Raiders took advantage of 23 Bluffton turnovers to post a
46-32 win over the Pirates in Division III district semifinal action
Thursday night at Lima Senior High School.
The Raiders survived
and advanced despite a Bluffton defense that limited Raider senior Ethan
Linder to 10 points, nearly 19 points below his 28.9 point average.
Trace opened the margin up with a 13-0 run in the second quarter,
buoyed by a 3-point field goal and an old-fashioned 3-point play by
Stabler that helped the Raiders take control with a 24-9 halftime
“We got some big efforts tonight,” said Raider head
coach Jim Linder. “Brady hit a couple of big shots there in the first
half where we were able to put some points together and open it up a
little bit. I thought we got some turnovers there, too, and it sped up
the game a little bit.”
After holding a slim 11-8 advantage after
one quarter, Wayne Trace took advantage of seven Bluffton turnovers in
the second quarter to take control of the game.
“Our defense got
us going a little bit there in the second quarter,” said the Raider head
coach. “We took advantage of some turnovers and that is who we are. We
want to push the tempo and force teams into mistakes and we were able to
Bluffton pulled within 24-13 and 26-15 early in the
third quarter before Wayne Trace again answered. A 3-pointer by Stabler
and two Ethan Linder free throws pushed the lead to 31-15 but the
Pirates again tried to answer. Gabe Denecker hit a 3-point shot to get
Bluffton back within 31-19 at the 5:20 mark but the Pirates would never
get any closer.
Two Jon Sinn baskets closed out the third quarter scoring as the Raiders extended the lead to 36-19 entering the final period.
made a couple of runs there but we were able to come up with big
baskets there each time,” Linder said. “Different guys made big plays at
different times and that is what we are going to need to keep playing.”
and Kaleb Jefferson opened the fourth quarter scoring with consecutive
baskets for Bluffton, getting the Pirates within 36-23. However, Josh
Kuhn responded with six straight Raider points to widen the lead to
42-23 and Wayne Trace never looked back in punching its ticket to the
“Josh played really well tonight,” said the
Raider head coach. “He came in and gave us very good minutes and went
to the basket for us as well. I thought he did a great job tonight.”
Eli Sinn chipped in five points while dishing off eight assists for the Raiders, who moved to 22-2 on the season.
saw the floor very well,” noted Jim Linder. “He got the ball to the
right people for easy baskets and good looks all night long. I thought
he was very good tonight too.”
Jon Sinn added four points and grabbed a team-high eight rebounds for Wayne Trace.
Jefferson paced Bluffton with 14 points while Denecker added nine for
the Pirates, who finished the year with a record of 13-12. Bluffton
played without the services of starting freshman point guard Luke
Denecker, a first-team all-Northwest Conference selection this season.
Trace will play Marion Local in the Division IV district championship
at 7 p.m. on Saturday. The Flyers held on for a 44-42 win over
Spencerville in the first semifinal on Thursday.