ARCHBOLD — For the first time in the history of the Wayne Trace girls basketball team, the Lady Raiders are off to the regional tournament after capturing the Division IV district championship at Archbold with a 54-43 victory over Stryker on Saturday night.

The Lady Raiders (22-3) punched their ticket with another outstanding night at the free throw line as they hit 14 of 16 fourth quarter foul shots to seal the victory. It was a night that saw everybody that played contribute and head coach Bethany DeJarnett was proud of her squad.

“It was a total team effort,” noted DeJarnett after the win. “They all came in and made plays for us on one end or the other. I am just very proud of this basketball team and the effort they gave again tonight.”

The victory also gave this year’s squad a new school record of 22 victories in a season, breaking the old record of 21 set by the 2010-2011 team.

“These girls have worked very hard and have just really played well as a team,” commented the Raider coach.

Wayne Trace was again led by sophomore standout Claire Sinn with 17 points in the contest, including a perfect 6 of 6 at the foul line in the final period. Senior point guard Gracie Gudakunst added 14 points and junior forward Kaylee Shepherd chipped in 11.

Holding a slim 30-28 advantage entering the final period, the Raiders opened the fourth quarter with an 8-1 run that extended the lead to 38-29. Shepherd ignited the Raider run with a pair of baskets before a Claire Sinn bucket and a Sadie Sinn 2-pointer made it 38-29.

Following two Chelsea Sinn free throws that stretched the Raider lead to 41-31, the Panthers made a run of their own. Four points by Stryker’s Courtney Stewart was followed by a pair of Haley Doehrmann foul shots to get the Panthers within 41-37.

A bucket by Claire Sinn temporarily stopped the spurt and pushed the Raider lead to 43-37, but the Panthers weren’t done. Stewart picked up a basket and two foul shots to get Stryker within 43-41 before Wayne Trace took control back.

With her team clinging to a 2-point lead, Gudakunst called the Raiders together following a turnover to settle the squad down and get Wayne Trace to re-focus. And the Raiders did just that. Claire Sinn and Gudakunst each hit a pair of free throws to widen the margin to 47-41, and Wayne Trace went on to close out a district championship at the foul line.

“Gracie has been a leader for four years and she stepped up there at a key time,” DeJarnett noted. “The girls have done a good job at the free throw line all season long and did that again tonight.”

Miriam Sinn had 10 rebounds to top Wayne Trace with Shepherd picking up six for the Raiders, who outrebounded the Panthers 28-20. Claire Sinn dished out 4 assists while Brooke Sinn and Sadie Sinn each picked up 3 steals.

Now, the Raiders move on to face Leipsic at 6:15 p.m. on Thursday at the Elida Fieldhouse.

“We will get back to work on Monday to prepare for Leipsic,” concluded DeJarnett. “They are a good basketball team, as everybody is this time of year.”