Tallice Landers long ago embraced the role of a dutiful youngest sibling. He grew up admiring older brothers Robert and Trey Landers who preceded him as standout athletes at Wayne High School.
First up was Robert Landers, the colorful spokesman of the Landers clan who doubles as a returning starter on Ohio State University’s defensive line. Next was Trey Landers, a key member of Wayne’s 2015 Division I boys state basketball champions. His current role is a second-year starter at Dayton.
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That’s a lot to follow and live up to for Tallice, who finally broke into Wayne’s starting basketball lineup as a senior.
“It’s very big for me,” he said following a 58-38 blitz of visiting Fairmont on Tuesday night. “Having grown up, they were big role models and father figures in my life. I’m trying to finish where they left off and make them proud.”
There was much to be proud of against Fairmont. Landers bottomed four 3-pointers and scored a game-high 17 points.
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The win was much needed for Wayne (9-8), which had lost four of six games heading into the Greater Western Ohio Conference National East matchup. The Warriors (7-2) inched a half-game ahead of Centerville (6-2) in the divisional race.
It also likely shot Wayne back into high seed contention for the upcoming Division I sectional. That record is misleading: Four of the Warriors’ losses were by a combined eight points, including a 67-66 setback at Covington Catholic (Ky.) last Saturday.
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Best of all, it was payback for a season-opening 66-60 loss at Fairmont.
“We didn’t handle our business there in the first game,” said Wayne coach Nate Martindale, who also had a tough act to follow after guiding the Warriors to a 25-2 debut season in 2017-18.
“It takes some time sometimes for the big picture to build. Our goal is to be playing our best basketball into February and March.”
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Senior guard Ronnie Hampton added 12 points for Wayne, which led by 19 points at halftime.
Kellan Bochenek had three 3-pointers and led Fairmont with 13 points. Ryan Hall added 12 points for the Firebirds (12-5, 5-4), who had a three-game win streak snapped.
“We were coming off a couple games that we were really feeling good about ourselves and we got a real, life-like reality check,” Fairmont coach Blair Albright said. “All you can do is take it and try to learn from it.”
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Butler (15-2), Centerville (11-5), Fairmont (12-5), Sidney (13-3), Springfield (10-5) and Wayne all will be high seeds and positioned throughout three Dayton D-I sectionals. The girls tourney draw is Sunday and the boys draw the following Sunday.
The bashing of Fairmont is a reminder of what Wayne is capable of doing. And for the Warriors’ many losses?
“We don’t worry about that,” assured Landers, in a familiar bass voice. “We just keep getting ready for March.”
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Chaminade Julienne 66, Thurgood Marshall 64: Milton Gage had 27 points for host CJ (16-1), which was named the state’s top-ranked team in D-II this week. Larry Turner and Dan Nauseef added 10 apiece. Mekhi Elmore paced Thurgood with 18 points.
Centerville 62, Cin. Purcell Marian 61: Matt Pearce drained a 3-pointer at the buzzer for the visiting Elks, who won their seventh straight. Pearce had 27 points and Ryan Marchal added 13.
Sidney 62, Tippecanoe 48: Andre Gordon had 28 points, Josiah Hudgins 17 and Ratez Roberts 12 to lead the host Yellow Jackets.
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Xenia 92, Stebbins 63: Samari Curtis sparked host Xenia with 36 points. Dylan Hoosier added 17 points and Noah Crawford 11 for the Bucs (10-7). Damiene Boles Jr. paced Stebbins with 22 points.
Miamisburg 44, Fenwick 42: Corey Hartman hit the game-winning basket with 3.6 seconds to play for the visiting Vikings (11-6). Hartman had 20 points.
Brookville 80, Covington 41: Jacob Gudorf set two Brookville records. He had nine steals to pass the previous record held by Derek Day. Gudorf also broke his own school record of steals in a season with his 55th.
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Tri-Village girls 60, Miami East 44: Meghan Downing had 17 points and Maddie Downing and Emma Printz 16 apiece as the visiting Patriots improved to 17-1 overall and 10-0 in the Cross County Conference.
West Liberty-Salem 41, Versailles 39: Gabby Hollar had 14 points and Selena Weaver 11 to key the host Tigers’ second-half rally. It was the 15th straight win by WL-Salem (15-3) following an 0-3 start. Versailles (13-4) had a four-game win streak snapped.
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