CENTERVILLE — The Wayne High School boys basketball team is back in the district finals for the first time since 2018.
Wayne senior Prophet Johnson scored a game-high 20 points as Wayne beat Lebanon 68-46 in a Division I district semifinal game on Friday night at Centerville High School.
Sophomore Lawrent Rice had 14 points and senior Malcolm Curry added 10 as the Warriors improved to 16-4 overall. Lebanon finished its season 16-3.
“I’m just proud of our guys,” said Warriors coach Nathan Martindale. “I love them to death. I told our seniors: ‘This is your legacy.’ It’s time for them to see what they’re going to leave for the kids coming up. I was happy for those guys. They deserved this. We’re happy to still be playing in the tournament.”
Wayne led 16-15 after the first quarter, but pulled away to grab a 36-25 lead at the half.
“Lebanon has a lot of seniors, they’re physical and they run their system and they’re good at what they do,” Martindale said. “I thought our seniors really stepped up. Winning a sectional championship isn’t an easy thing to do and we don’t take anything for granted. We just tried to stay in the moment and take it possession by possession and really executed.”
Wayne held Lebanon to just three points in the third quarter, taking a 49-28 lead to seal the victory.
“It was big for this group to be able to win this game,” Martindale said. “We didn’t handle our business last year. We’re thankful. We know with the pandemic and everything going on we’re not guaranteed tomorrow, so we’re just trying to live in the moment and I think our kids are playing that way right now.”
Martindale credited senior Cam Fancher for taking four charges in the game.
“A lot of that’s not sexy or flashy, but it made a huge difference,” he said. “It made a huge difference in how they approached the game.”
Wayne will play St. Xavier D-I district final game on Saturday, March 6, at a time to be determined. Wayne fell at St. Xavier 62-59 on Jan. 30.
“Whoever we play, we know that whoever we play in the district it’s going to be a tough battle,” Martindale said. “We’re going to try to get prepared and realize we’ve got a huge task at hand. We’ve got to get ready to go.”