Warriors run away from Springfield and clinch share of Central Division.
HUBER HEIGHTS — Springfield’s cold shooting and Wayne’s domination of the boards set the tone in a GWOC Central game on Tuesday night. The Warriors ran away from Springfield to a 77-57 win. Wayne clinches at least a share of its third-straight GWOC Central title with the win.
Springfield took an 8-6 lead midway through the first, but the Warriors finished the quarter on an 8-0 run. When Springfield tried to mount a comeback in the second, Wayne guard Rodrick Caldwell scored the final nine Warriors points to close the half with a 33-19 Wayne lead. The Warriors never looked back.
Springfield could not buy a basket for some stretches in the first half. Credit Wayne for a lot of that.
“We don’t change a whole lot to prepare,” said Wayne head coach Travis Trice said. “I thought we did a great job moving our feet and staying in front of guys. We did a little bit better boxing out, but we didn’t do a great job of that. But overall I thought our defense was really good all night.”
Springfield head coach Isiah Carson knew his team needed to shoot well if it was going to beat the Warriors.
“When you come in here (to Wayne) you have to play good basketball,” Carson said. “You can’t leave anything on the floor and tonight we were horrible on transition defense. Also, they killed us on the boards with second chance points. You’ve got to play your ‘A’ game against these guys, bottom line.”
Ahmad Wagner led Wayne with 13 points. Caldwell finished with 12, and L’Christian Smith and D’Mitrik Trice added 11 each for the Warriors.
Trice was pleased with Smith’s performance off the bench. He said that Smith, a 6-5 freshman forward, has provided depth for the Warriors in the post this year.
“Tonight was his birthday, and it’s not too hard to have some energy on your birthday,” Trice said of Smith. “He’s been great over the last week. I think we had to coach him a little bit differently. He’s a freshman among a bunch of juniors and seniors. I think we treated him the same early on and needed to understand he’s going to be a little bit behind… We’ve got to use him for what we can.”
Springfield center Darius Harper led the Wildcats with 14 points. Dae’Shawn Jackson scored 13 and Henry Alexander scored 11. Springfield’s leading scorer Danny Davis was held to six points. Davis scored only one point in the first half.
“The game plan was to attack the basket,” Carson said. “For whatever reason, we wanted to settle for jump shots instead of attacking the basket. The only way for us to get the ball inside was to go through (Harper) since our guards didn’t want to penetrate.”
Wayne won the first game between the two squads 65-37 on Jan. 9. The game ended midway through the fourth quarter after a bench-clearing brawl broke out.
Both principals for Wayne and Springfield read a statement about sportsmanship before Tuesday’s game. Players from both teams shook hands before the game at center court. No scuffles broke out, and even the talking among players during the game was held to a minimum.
The Warriors are ranked sixth in Div. I in the state AP poll. They’ve won two-straight games since losing at third-ranked Wilmington on Jan. 31.
Wayne is anchored inside by Wagner and Xeyrius Williams, who are committed to Iowa and Dayton, respectively. Caldwell, Trey Landers, and D’Mitrik Trice also have Div. I basketball offers.
“They beat us in every aspect tonight,” Carson said. “They’re very talented and have a lot of guys that can score. We’ve just got to forget about this one and get back to the drawing board…
“Other than tonight, we haven’t played bad basketball. You hit a bump in the road from time-to-time. We’ve just got to stay focused and keep playing good basketball.”
Springfield (11-7, 3-5) travels to Beavercreek on Friday. Tuesday marked the first time this season the Wildcats have lost consecutive games. Springfield lost by three points to Fairmont last Friday.
Springfield was the first of three tough opponents Wayne (16-3, 8-0) plays this week. The Warriors host Fairmont (16-3) on Friday and Cleveland Central Catholic (14-2) on Saturday.
Springfield at Wayne Highlights | TBSN Video Extra