Lincolnview’s Nick Leeth passes the ball while being guarded by Wayne trace’s Corbin Linder in a Van Wert Hospital Tip-Off Tournament game at Van Wert High School Friday. The Raiders won the contest. (Times Bulletin/Brian Bassett)
By Brian Bassett
Times Bulletin Sports Editor
VAN WERT - The Lincolnview Lancer and Wayne Trace Raider boys basketball teams opened the season Friday evening to a virtually even quarter-and-a-half.
Unfortunately for the Lancers, the rest of the game was all Raiders, as Wayne Trace cruised to a 72-49 opening-round win in the Van Wert Hospital Tip-Off Tournament at Van Wert High School.
Wayne Trace led 13-11 at the end of a quarter before Lincolnview took a 15-14 lead when junior point guard Kyle Williams drove and scored. Wayne Trace then went on a 19-0 run, and never looked back.
"We started off rough. We missed the first layup and the first quarter got out of control. But the second quarter, I think, we opened it up," explained Wayne Trace coach Jim Linder.
"We came out playing well," said Lancer coach Brett Hammons. "We played a good quarter-and-a-half, and the started getting tired. They got some easy baskets. Looking at the stats, they shot around 60 percent because of all the points in transition"
The run was thanks in large part to senior Raider center Ryan Kortokrax, who scored 12 points in the second quarter - equal to Lincolnview's total for the stanza.
"I felt that our big kid was going to be an influence on the game, Kortokrax, and he was," added Linder.
Lincolnview junior center Conner McCleery drew the assignment of guarding Kortokrax and did a nice job early on - holding him to 1 of 2 from the field in the first quarter. But McCleery ran into foul trouble, allowing the Raider big man to control the paint.
"It was huge. I told (Conner) that on the bench. He gets his second foul there and we're up 15-14. From that point on it kind of spiraled out of control. It was tough because the Kortokrax kid kind of did what he wanted at that point... Our big guys battled, but we've got to get tougher," said Hammons.
Kortokrax scored 16 points on the evening, but he wasn't alone. Senior guard Dalton Sinn added 12 points, including a two-handed dunk in the first quarter that brought the Raider faithful to their feet. Sophomore guard Corbin Linder chipped in 10 points as well. Senior point guard Grady Gudakunst scored 11 points and shot 3-6 from three-point territory.
In total, the Raiders shot 29 of 53 (55 percent) from the field, and 25 of 38 (66 percent) from two-point range alone.
The Lancers were led by 12 points from Williams, he was the only Linconlview player in double-digits, though senior guard Nick Leeth added nine points.
Efficiency-wise, the Raiders committed 13 turnovers, but helped themselves out with 15 assists. "We'll take 13 turnovers," said Linder. The Lancers committed 13 turnovers as well to only five assists.
Lincolnview shot 15 of 52 from the field overall, good for 28 percent. They were 4 of 19 from three-point range. The Raiders outrebounded the Lancers 42-36.
Nine Wayne Trace players scored, and most of them while the game was still contested. "We felt, coming in, that we are at least eight or nine deep. And we were probably 10 or 11 deep tonight. Some kids stepped up and surprised us. That's good to see," said Linder.
Despite the loss, Hammons saw positive signs from his team. "I don't think we ever gave up, which is a good sign. We got down pretty big and we tried to give our best effort. We could have given up and we didn't We've got things to work on, obviously, after a game like this, but it's only game-one. We've got to continue to get better."
The Lancers open 0-1 to start the season and will take on Van Wert in the consolation game Saturday. The Raiders improve to 1-0 and face Crestview in the championship game tomorrow.
Wayne Trace 13 29 19 11 - 72
Lincolnview 11 12 8 18 - 49
Wayne Trace (FGM-FGA FTM-FTA, TOT)
Gerber 0-1 0-0 0, Gudakunst 4-8 0-3 11, Speice 2-4 1-2 5, Worden 3-3 0-1 6, Arend 2-3 0-0 4, Linder 4-11 1-4 10, Sinn 4-8 4-11 12, Wenzlick 2-4 0-2 4, Blackmore 2-2 0-2 4, Kortokrax 6-9 4-7 16.
Leeth 1-1 7-10 9, Carey 2-10 3-4 7, Katalenas 0-0 0-2 0, Williams 4-15 2-2 12, Miller 2-2 3-3 7, Evans 1-4 0-0 2, Dowdy 3-6 0-3 6, McCleery 0-3 0-0 0, Farmer 2-6 0-0 6, Ludwig 0-5 0-1 0.