LIMA – Wayne Trace hadn’t rolled out a 2-3 zone all season.
But that’s all it played against Lima Central Catholic.
Wayne Trace frustrated the LCC offense in a 65-58 victory against LCC in the Division III boys basketball district semifinals Thursday at Lima Senior.
Wayne Trace (18-6) advances to the district championship game against the Ottawa-Glandorf/Coldwater winner at 1 p.m. Saturday at Lima Senior.
LCC finishes the year 15-10.
Biggz Johnson paced LCC with 25 points, including scoring 15 in the final quarter. He hit two 3-pointers.
Rossy Moore had nine points and 10 rebounds.
Nate Stolly had 11 points with three 3-pointers for LCC.
Michael Jay Riepenhoff had two points and eight rebounds.
The Wayne Trace 2-3 zone caused problems for LCC most of the night.
“I thought our game plan was good, keeping them out of the paint as much as we could,” Wayne Trace coach Jim Linder said. “We hadn’t played a 2-3 all year long, but I knew their penetration was going to be more deadly than their threes. … And even with the zone, he (Johnson) still got around us. He’s a tremendous player.’’
LCC shot 36 percent from the field and was 7 of 24 on 3-pointers.
Wayne Trace shot 52 percent from the field and was 8 of 15 on 3-pointers.
“When a team makes 50 percent of their threes, it makes it hard,” LCC coach Frank Kill said. “And I thought their shots were decently contested. Give a lot of credit to Wayne Trace. And (Nate) Gerber scored inside and out (for Wayne Trace) and (Reid) Miller did it all. He was the difference maker.’’
LCC won the boards, 34-33.
Wayne Trace led 30-20 at the half and 41-32 after three quarters.
The T-Birds chipped away in the final quarter, but four was as close as they would get.
The final time LCC got within four was 55-51 with 1:06 to play.
LCC used plenty of its man and 1-2-2 press in the second half, but Reid Miller handled the ball well for Wayne Trace.
The Raiders finished with only 10 turnovers.
The Raiders were in the double bonus most of the final quarter and finished LCC of by hitting 14 of 18 at the line in the final quarter.
Miller and Nate Gerber both had 19 points for Wayne Trace.
Gerber nailed three 3-pointers with six rebounds.
Trevor Sinn came off the bench and tossed in 11 points with two 3-pointers.
“Reid took care of the ball and Nate did the scoring,” Linder said. “And our unsung hero was Trevor Sinn.’’
Alex Rinehart had eight points and 16 rebounds.
From the tip, Wayne Trace dared LCC to shoot from the outside with its zone.
And, for most of the first half, the T-Birds struggled from the outside.
Gerber said he wasn’t totally shocked that his coach pulled the 2-3 zone out of the back of the closet.
“I actually wasn’t very surprised because we ran through so many defenses this year, so when he tells us about a new defense we’re ready and excited to get it in practice,” Gerber said.
Wayne Trace ran out to a 9-3 lead, as LCC hit just one of its first 10 shots from the field.
Wayne Trace held a 13-5 lead after the first quarter, as the T-Birds were 2 of 15 from the field.
The Raiders built their lead to 16-5 before LCC got its running game going.
The T-Birds ripped off a 9-2 run to get within 18-14 with 5:30 left before halftime.
During that run, Johnson scored on a three-point play and a fast-break layup.
Wayne Trace responded with four straight 3-pointers, two by Cameron Sinn, to post a 12-0 run.
That gave the Raiders a 30-14 lead with 1:09 left before the half.
By halftime, Wayne Trace was 6 of 10 on 3-pointers. LCC was 1 of 10.
“We had been shooting the ball really well of late, but coming into Lima Senior we didn’t shoot the ball as well as we should have,” Kill said. … “When you shoot that bad this time of the year, you’re probably going to go home.’’
Overall, Kill gave praise to his team’s 15-win season.
“I’m extremely proud of these guys and this senior class will definitely be missed,” Kill said.
Reach The Lima News sports department at 567-242-0451.