ELIDA — On February 9, Hicksville made the trip to Wayne Trace without three starters and suffered a 74-47 loss at the hands of the Raiders.

Tuesday night, the two squads hooked up again in Division IV district semifinal action at the Elida Fieldhouse but this time it was Hicksville who proved to be too much for the Raiders in a 54-43 victory.

With a full roster on the floor, the Aces outworked Wayne Trace to advance to Friday’s district championship game against Crestview.

It was a night where Wayne Trace never appeared to get into any rhythm offensively and the Aces kept the Raiders off balance on the defensive end.

“Give Hicksville credit,” noted Raider head coach Jim Linder. “They played well and just never got into the game offensively or defensively.”

Wayne Trace had opportunities early in the game to open a lead but the Raiders couldn’t take advantage. The Raiders led 11-8 after one quarter, forcing six Hicksville turnovers in the period, but missed several shots in the paint as well.

“We had some opportunities there early but just couldn’t make shots,” added Linder. “We were able to get some turnovers but didn’t take advantage.”

The Aces then seized control in the second quarter, outscoring Wayne Trace 18-8 to take a 26-19 halftime advantage.

Wayne Trace struggled from the field in the first half, hitting only 9 of 26 shots (35 percent).

Meanwhile, the Aces connected on six of eight second quarter shots and hit 9 of 18 (50 percent) in the first half.

“They got some momentum there in the second quarter and they just built on that,” commented the Raider head coach.

Hicksville opened the lead to 35-23 midway through the third quarter, scoring 9 of the first 13 points in the second half.

However, the Raiders closed the quarter with two baskets from Reid Miller and Jake Kuhn along with a Nate Gerber three-pointer to pull within 37-34 at the end of three periods.

After the Aces opened the final period with a Michael Myers basket at the 6:19 mark, Wayne Trace trimmed the deficit to as little as 42-38 on a Jake Kuhn basket with 3:28 remaining.

Hicksville, though, sealed the victory at the free throw line as the Aces hit 10 out of 14 free throws in the fourth quarter to wrap up the 54-43 victory.

Eli Sinn, Nate Gerber and Jake Kuhn all had eight points for Wayne Trace with Josiah Linder and Reid Miller bucketing six points each.

Sinn, Josh Kuhn, Adam Stoller, Jake Kuhn and Jordan Saylor all wore the Raider uniform for the final time Tuesday evening.

“It was a great group of seniors,” concluded the Raider mentor. “These kids have given this team a lot of leadership and accomplished a lot in their careers. They are a special group and I wish them all the best in their futures.”