COLUMBUS GROVE - After going to the regionals a season ago, Columbus Grove was expected to be one of the premier teams in northwest Ohio after returning four starters from that squad.

The Bulldogs looked like it Friday night.

Columbus Grove dominated from start to finish and rolled past visiting Wayne Trace 65-39 at the home of the Bulldogs in the boys basketball season opener for both schools.

It was a night completely controlled by the host Bulldogs as Columbus Grove

With the two teams tied at 9-9 midway through the opening quarter, Columbus Grove put together 11 consecutive points to open up the contest.

A three-pointer by Alex Schroeder ignited the run, which also included baskets by Tayt Birnesser, Brayden Bellman and Ethan Halker along with two Blake Reynolds foul shots.

“They are very good,” noted Raider head coach Jim Linder of the Bulldog squad. “They did a great job of getting out in transition and made us pay for not getting back defensively.”

Columbus Grove extended the margin to 34-15 in the second quarter, opening the period on a 14-4 run.

An Evan Hopkins trey started the Bulldog spurt before buckets by Birnesser, Reynolds, Hopkins and Halker widened the lead to 31-15.

Following another Hopkins three-pointer to make it 34-15, six straight Raider points closed the gap to 34-21 at the intermission. Reid Miller hit a trey, Nate Gerber connected on two free throws and Grayson McClure made one of two foul shots to provide the Raider points.

The Bulldogs, though, put the game away in the third quarter by outscoring Wayne Trace 21-10 to extend the margin to 55-31 entering the final period.

“They are very athletic, long and they can jump,” Linder added of the Bulldogs. “They present so many problems because they have athletes and shooters all over the floor.”

A pair of Owen Macke foul shots provided the biggest lead of the night for Columbus Grove at 63-35 before settling on the final margin of 65-39.

“We have a lot of areas to get better at,” concluded the Raider head coach. “We will learn from this loss and get back to work next week.”

Tayt Birnesser and Evan Hopkins scored 13 points each to pace Columbus Grove with Alex Schneider adding ten markers. Blake Reynolds also posted nine points and 11 rebounds for the Bulldogs.

Nathan Gerber topped Wayne Trace with 13 points and Alex Reinhart scored nine points for the Raiders.

The Bulldog junior varsity also was victorious, holding on for a 34-32 win over Wayne Trace.

Trey Sautter paced Columbus Grove with 13 points while Jackson Schroeder added ten markers, six rebounds and three assists.

Braydan Bellman also chipped in five points while hauling down 11 rebounds for the Bulldogs.

Race Price and Cameron Graham each scored seven markers to lead Wayne Trace with Graham also picking up five rebounds. Ethan Noggle chipped in five points and five boards for the Raiders with Garrett Williamson scoring five points as well.

Wayne Trace returns to action on Friday as the Raiders host Bryan while Columbus Grove opens Putnam County League play as the Bulldogs travel to Ottoville Friday night.

Wayne Trace

Reid Miller 5 points

Cameron Sinn 2 points

Trevor Speice 2 points

Nate Gerber 13 points

Jace Vining 5 points

Grayson McClure 1 point

Cameron Graham 2 points

Alex Reinhart 9 points

Columbus Grove

Blake Reynolds 9 points

Tayt Birnesser 13 points

Evan Hopkins 13 points

Gabe Clement 8 points

Owen Macke 2 points

Ethan Halker 6 points

Tanner Smith 2 points

Brayden Bellman 2 points

Alex Schneider 10 points

JV Box Score          1        2       3         4         T

Wayne Trace          11      6        3        12       32

Columbus Grove     6       7       14        7        34