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Top-ranked Wayne works OT to dodge Springfield in battle of unbeatens

Falling to Springfield twice in one season doesn’t cut it at Wayne. But that’s what happened last year.

“We had to redeem ourselves, no doubt,” assured Wayne senior L’Christian “Blue” Smith.

Wayne did just that, hanging a 65-62 overtime defeat on Springfield in Wednesday night’s showdown of unbeaten and state-ranked Greater Western Ohio Conference boys high school basketball powers.

Wayne (13-0) is the state’s top-ranked Division I team for the second straight week. Springfield (13-1) vaulted to No. 6.

This was a much-anticipated and delayed matchup of the area’s two best D-I programs and it won’t be the last. The game was postponed due to a winter storm less than two weeks ago. The regular-season rematch will be at Springfield on Feb. 9.

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Both are sure to be top seeds in the upcoming sectional and could play a third game as early as a district final. What is certain is Wayne also sits atop the GWOC National East at 7-0 and Springfield slips to second at 6-1.

Among the sellout crowd were college football coaches from Louisville, Kentucky and University of Cincinnati coach Luke Fickell, all to see uncommitted Leonard Taylor of Springfield. There were plenty of high-profile alums mixing about, too, including the Landers brothers, Wayne grads Trey (Dayton basketball) and Robert (Ohio State football), and Wayne grad Marcus Freeman, a Cincinnati defensive coordinator who huddled with Taylor afterward.

“It doesn’t get any better than this,” Wayne coach Nate Martindale said. “We had a packed house and great support. It’s what high school basketball is all about, especially on a Wednesday night. What can be any better than this?”

Wayne’s L’Christian “Blue” Smith (5) and teammates Darius Quisenberry (3) and Antwuan Johnson (1) battle Springfield’s Raheim Moss for a rebound. Wayne defeated visiting Springfield 65-62 in OT in a boys high school basketball game on Wed., Jan. 24, 2018. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF

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A Deshone Parker off-balance leaner in the lane with four seconds left in regulation put Wayne up 60-59. But the Warriors inexplicably fouled Springfield’s best player on this night, Raheim Moss. Ruled an intentional foul, all Moss had to do was make both for the Wildcats to win. He missed the first and converted the second to force OT.

“I knew time was winding down,” said Parker, who led Wayne with 15 points. “I had to go make a move. I went up and threw up a floater and it went in.”

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So did Rashad McKee’s 3-pointer from the wing and two free throws by Smith with 18.7 seconds left in OT. Springfield answered in OT with only a Taylor rebound bucket. His final 3-point heave at the buzzer clanked off the rim.

“It looked good; it just didn’t fall for me,” Taylor said. “An undefined moment.”

Darius Quisenberry added 13 points, Smith 13 and McKee 11 for Wayne, which also dodged host Trotwood-Madison 90-87 in double-OT late last month.

Moss was outstanding in leading Springfield with 25 points. Sam Towns added 13 points and Taylor 10.

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It was the fourth game in six days for Springfield, all on the road. Springfield defeated Belmont (8-2), the surprise of the Dayton City League, 65-53 on Tuesday. The Wildcats return home Friday for their fifth game in seven days against Springboro.

“We ain’t got nothin’ to hang our heads over,” Springfield coach Isaiah Carson said. “We lost to a good team. We’ll get better for it. We played our hearts out and had our chances. We just came up a little bit short.”

• Sidney’s Andre Gordon scored 40 points in Tuesday’s 68-60 defeat of visiting Stebbins. The junior guard hit three 3-pointers, converted 9 of 11 free throws and tallied 13 points in the decisive fourth quarter. He also had six assists and two steals.

Gordon went for a season-high 49 points in a defeat of Greenville last month. He’s second in GWOC scoring (25.6) behind leader Samari Curtis of Xenia (31.3), also a junior. Sidney (10-5) is at Trotwood-Madison (11-3) on Friday. The Rams are powered by the GWOC’s next two leading scorers, senior Myles Belyeu (22.9) and junior Amari Davis (22.5).

• Dunbar’s boys defeated Stivers 72-52 to win their seventh straight game and improve to 8-2 overall and 5-1 in the Dayton City League. A rematch at Belmont (8-2) on Friday should draw a capacity crowd. Belmont defeated Dunbar 81-80 in triple-OT in the first meeting.

• Fairmont’s boys snapped a three-game losing skid by defeating rival Alter 62-43 on Tuesday. Kellan Bochenek and Jack Hendricks each had 20 points for the Firebirds (10-5). Fairmont hosts Miamisburg (10-4) in a GWOC divisional crossover game Friday that will count toward standings.

Alter (3-12) is looking to snap a nine-game losing streak against visiting Roger Bacon on Friday.

• Shai McGruder hit 15 of 17 field goals and scored 31 points in Trotwood-Madison’s 98-27 defeat of visiting Sidney on Wednesday. Trotwood’s girls (12-2) are at Fairborn (6-11) on Saturday.

• Sam Chable scored 15 points as Centerville’s girls defeated Northmont 56-28. The Elks (11-6) have won six straight and host Tecumseh (13-3) on Monday.

»FACEBOOK: For more high school sports you should like Marc Pendleton

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