ANTWERP - Sometimes you have to find different ways to win tough road games in league play if you want to win a league title.

The Wayne Trace boys basketball team did just that Thursday night at Antwerp High School.

Despite making only 17 of 44 shots from the field (39 percent) and 4 of 11 free throws (36 percent), the Raiders got a three-pointer from Nathan Gerber with six second remaining to knock off the host Archers 40-39 in Green Meadows Conference action.

The win also keeps the Raiders at the top of the race in the league as Wayne Trace is now 9-2 overall and 2-0 in the league.

Wayne Trace head coach Jim Linder was proud of the way his squad found a way to get a big win in a tough place to play.

“This is a big win in a very tough place to play,” noted the Raider head coach following the contest. “Antwerp is a good basketball team and this was a night that we had to win it more on the defensive end than the offensive end. Our kids came in here and found a way to grit out a victory.”

After Gerber’s trey, the Archers still had a chance following a timeout with 6.5 seconds left.

However, Wayne Trace used a trapping defense to force an Antwerp turnover as Alex Reinhart picked up the steal that sealed the victory.

“We wanted to make them inbounds the ball and go full court,” Linder added. “I thought we did a good job of that and then we were able to get a double-team that led to the turnover. It was a hard-fought, physical game on both ends of the floor tonight but I am proud of the way the guys battled.”

The game was a defensive struggle in the opening eight minutes as Wayne Trace held a slim 6-4 advantage after one period.

Following a Ty Rebber basket that pulled Antwerp even at 6-6 early in the second quarter, the Raiders scored eight of the next ten markers for a 14-8 lead after a Josiah Linder three-point play.

Wayne Trace then went on to take a 19-13 lead at the midway points following a Reid Miller three-point shot.

Leading 23-19 midway through the third quarter, the Raiders picked up consecutive baskets from Jace Vining, Nate Gerber and Trae Sinn to open a 29-19 advantage with 1:06 left in the period.

Antwerp, though, would turn the momentum back in its favor late in the quarter.

The Archers got a Jake Ryan basket before Cole Seslar hit one of two foul shots to get Antwerp within 29-22 entering the final period.

Antwerp then started the fourth quarter with a dozen consecutive points. Buckets by Seslar and Luke Brewer ignited the spurt before two Austin Lichty three-pointers gave the Archers a 32-29 lead. Lichty then added a basket to put Antwerp in front 34-29 with 4:48 remaining in the contest.

“We played well for a stretch but we didn’t take advantage of our opportunities,” noted Archer head coach Doug Billman. “We had a chance to add to the lead but we didn’t. We need to be able to do that to win these close games and we didn’t do that tonight.”

A basket by Gerber broke the Raider scoring drought at the 4:01 mark to get Wayne Trace within 34-31 before a Reid Miller bucket trimmed the Antwerp lead to 34-33 with 3:29 remaining.

Jayvin Landers followed with a three-pointer that put the Archers on top 37-33 at the 1:32 mark before the Raiders came storming back.

Reid Miller was fouled going to the basket and proceeded to hit both free throws, cutting the lead in half to 37-35 with 56.6 seconds remaining.

“I thought we did a good job of not panicking but yet we attacked,” added the Raider head coach. “Reid has hit some big shots for us this year and he made two huge free throws there late in the game.”

It was the Raider defense that stepped up and made the next big play.

Jace Vining came up with a steal of an Antwerp pass and found Miller for the game tying layup with 29 seconds to play, evening the game at 37-37.

“I am so proud of the way we played defense tonight,” Linder continued. “We have played a variety of defenses all year long and tonight we played primarily man. We knew it would be difficult but I am very pleased with the way we battled.”

Antwerp would answer on its next possession.

The Archers’ Ty Rebber broke free and hit a short jumper to give Antwerp a 39-37 lead with 17 ticks remaining but it would be Gerber’s three-pointer that give Wayne Trace the win.

“We didn’t execute offensively the way we wanted,” Billman added. “You have to give Wayne Trace some credit in that though too. It was a defensive game on both ends and a very physical game as well. But, we need to play through that too.”

Despite the loss, Billman knows there is still a lot of games left in league play.

“I told the guys we still have everything in front of us,” concluded the Archer mentor. “We need to come back from tonight and be ready to play next week. There are a lot of good teams and there is a lot of balance this year so lots of things can happen. But, we have to make sure that we do what we need to do.”

Rebber, who scored the first ten points of the game for Antwrep, finished with a team high dozen points while Lichty bucketed 11.

Brewer recorded five points and ten rebounds as well for Antwerp, who falls to 7-3 overall and 1-1 in the league.

Miller topped Wayne Trace with 14 points while Gerber posted 11. Josiah Linder also finished with seven points and six rebounds for the Raiders.

Antwerp’s junior varsity improved to 10-0 overall and 2-0 in the league with a 41-31 win over the Raiders.

Jake Eaken had 14 points for Antwerp while Blake Schuette chipped in seven. Cameron Sinn topped Wayne Trace with seven points while Grayson McClure added four.

In the first game of the tripleheader, Wayne Trace’s freshman squad posted a 37-31 win.

Grayson McClure had nine points to pace the Raiders with Cameron Graham and Cameron Sinn each recording eight. Tucker Franklin and Hunter Sproles paced Antwerp with nine and eight markers, respectively.

Wayne Trace hits the court again tomorrow as the Raiders visit Delphos Jefferson. Antwerp resumes league pl