“I’m proud of the way we hung in,” said Springboro coach Tom Benjamin. “I thought we rallied in the second half after we rallied in the first half. Wayne deserves credit. Both times we rallied, they then rallied. They’re good. With the players they have and the job that Coach Trice does, they’re a very good basketball team.”
Wayne jumped out to a quick 9-0 lead and never trailed in the game.
“Getting off to an early start is very, very important, especially when you’re playing on the road,” Trice said. “You know what you’re playing for, a GWOC Championship. I knew how important it was going to be to get off to a good start and luckily we did. The issue is we really didn’t maintain that throughout the game, but I’m proud of the fact that we got the win.”
The Warriors led 22-15 at the half and extended its lead to 33-21 on an old-fashioned 3-point play by senior Jacquel Bronaugh.
Springboro cut the lead to three points at 44-41 on a 3-pointer by Haley Crozier with 2:15 remaining, but the Panthers wouldn’t get any closer. Springboro had a shot to tie the game with about a minute remaining, but weren’t able to convert. Hall then found Bronaugh for a layup and scored three more points down the stretch to seal the victory.
“When you play a really good basketball team, your margin of error decreases,” Benjamin said. “We didn’t get into a rhythm. I think we finally got into a bit of a rhythm maybe late third, early fourth or maybe it was just the fourth. As a result, if you’re within striking distance, you’re pretty fortunate. … We did a good job of getting back into it and being competitive and we just needed a play or two more, maybe three plays. It was a heck of a game.”
The Panthers play Lakota West on Monday and still have trips to both Centerville and Wayne.
“Our schedule is brutal, but we hope we’re getting better as we move towards the tournament,” Benjamin said.
The Warriors came in with confidence after winning back-to-back games last weekend against sixth-ranked Reynoldsburg and Arizona Compass Prep at the Journey to the Tourney showcase.
“It was big for sure,” Trice said. “We got a lot of contributions from a lot of different players. The wins were big for our team and our culture.”
Wayne hosts Beavercreek on Saturday and Springfield on Jan. 27 before hosting rival Centerville on Jan. 28.
“One game at a time,” Trice said. “We’re just trying to get better. Today it was a good win for us being on the road. I thought we could’ve closed it out a little bit better, but I’ll take it for sure.”