Wayne Trace will take on Kalida Tuesday in Elida for a District Semi-Final Match up. (DHI Media/ Pat Agler)
Wayne Trace will take on Kalida Tuesday in Elida for a District Semi-Final Match up. (DHI Media/ Pat Agler)
PAULDING - Nathan Gerber connected on eight three-point field goals and scored a career high 35 points to lead the Wayne Trace boys basketball team to a 74-44 sectional championship win over Ottoville in Division IV boys basketball action at Paulding Friday evening.

The Raiders, who improve to 19-5, now move into the district tournament on Tuesday when Wayne Trace battles Kalida (18-5) in the 8:00 p.m. contest at the Elida Fieldhouse. The Wildcats are coming off of a 41-32 victory over Parkway in the first game Friday evening.

Offense was the name of the game all night long for the red, white and blue.

Wayne Trace scored 23 first quarter points, 11 of which came from Gerber, as the Raiders grabbed control from the start and posted a 23-9 advantage after one quarter.

“Everybody came in and played well tonight,” said Wayne Trace head coach Jim Linder. “One of the things we talked about was doing their roles and they all did that.”

Ottoville hung around in the second quarter as the Big Green were still within 30-19 after a Trae Schlagbaum basket with 4:49 on the clock.

However, the Raiders broke the game open in the final four minutes of the first half.

Wayne Trace scored 11 of the final 15 points in the half, getting five from Gerber and two each by Trae Sinn, Alex Reinhart and Reid Miller, to extend the margin to 41-23 at the midway point of the contest.

The Raiders continued to pull away in the third, putting together a 10-0 run that quickly pushed the lead to 54-28 with 5:10 remaining in the period.

Gerber scored 19 points in the third quarter alone as Wayne Trace bucketed 29 in widening the advantage to 70-37 at the end of three periods.

Jace Vining was the only other Raider to reach double figures, bucketing ten markers, while Josiah Linder added nine. Reid Miller had only four points for Wayne Trace but dished out eight assists and recorded four steals.

“We passed the ball very well,” Linder said. “Guys did a good job of finding the open person and getting the ball to them in a position they could score. I was very pleased with the way we played tonight.”

William Miller and Josh Thorbahn each scored a dozen points to pace Ottoville, which closes its season at 17-6.

Wayne Trace finished the contest 27 of 49 from the field (55 percent) from the field, including 10 of 19 from three-point land (53 percent). Ottoville hit 16 of 42 shots on the night (38 percent) and made only 5 of 17 from beyond the arc (29 percent).

Both teams were respectable at the free throw line as the Raiders were 10 of 13 (77 percent) compared to the Big Green’s seven of nine (78 percent).

The Raiders dominated the boards, 32-20, and limited the Big Green to zero offensive rebounds. Ottoville ended the night with 14 turnovers while Wayne Trace had 11, five of which came in the final quarter.

Senior Jaden Schnipke and fellow senior Zach Knippen each played in their final game in an Ottoville basketball uniform. Schnipke scored six points and picked up a rebound in his final contest.