Wayne’s undefeated run through the boys high school basketball regular season was good while it lasted. And, according to standout senior guard Darius Quisenberry, just fine that it ended.
“It’s good that we took a (loss) before tournament,” Quisenberry said following a 54-47 ambush at Springfield on Friday night. “It’s OK to take an L, as long as we bounce back. We’re gonna be all right.”
That was the healthy sentiment the Warriors embraced after they suffered their first loss in 19 games. The Warriors have been ranked No. 1 in the state by the Associated Press since the second poll.
Wayne (18-1, 10-1) already had clinched a tie for the Greater Western Ohio Conference National East title and can clinch it outright by beating visiting Centerville next Friday to end the regular season.
Springfield (16-3, 9-2) must beat visiting Fairmont on Tuesday and have Centerville defeat Wayne to share the National East title with Wayne. Centerville is out of the division title chase.
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Springfield and Wayne should be seeded 1-2 in today’s Division I sectional meeting to determine bracket placing, although who’s No. 1 is now a toss-up.
Springfield was coming off successive losses last weekend to Centerville and Moeller. But Wayne had no chance in the rematch, not with a sold-out and super-hyped crowd waiting.
“That was a great win, a good bounce-back win against a very good basketball team,” understated Springfield coach Isaiah Carson. “It ain’t hard to get up for this one. I think it’s the best rivalry in the state. Both teams played hard and the home crowd helped us out. We’ll take it.”
Wayne handed visiting Springfield its first loss less than three weeks ago, 65-62 in overtime. Then Springfield went on a late-season 2-3 slide and needed a win of this magnitude to reassert itself along with Wayne as the area’s top D-I programs. The Wildcats were up to that challenge, shutting down Wayne from the start and maintaining a lead throughout.
Junior JaJuan Rodgers, out much of the season while an ankle injury healed, led Springfield with 14 points and a flawless floor game. RaHeim Moss, another Wildcats junior who’s having a breakout season, went on a dunk-fest and added 12 points. Larry Stephens, yet another junior Wildcats sub, added 11 points.
Leonard Taylor, who signed to play football at the University of Cincinnati on Wednesday, added nine points for Springfield. It was the first time in a long time UC football coaches weren’t there to woo Taylor.
Quisenberry led Wayne with 21 points. L’Christian “Blue” Smith added 14.
Smith appeared to pull Wayne within two on a bucket with less than two minutes left. But the shot was nullified when he was called for carrying the ball. Smith was soon hit with a technical foul and Taylor converted a free throw and layup on the resulting possession.
“We’ll learn from this and get better,” Wayne coach Nate Martindale said. “We’re not ready to burn the house down just yet.”
St. Henry 46, Versailles 44: The host Redskins (16-3, 6-1) remain in contention for a Midwest Athletic Conference title after stunning Versailles (16-3, 6-1) with its second straight loss. Marion Local (13-4, 6-0) leads the MAC by a half game over St. Henry and Versailles. Marion Local hosts Versailles on Monday.
Butler overcame 41 points by Justin Ahrens to defeat host Versailles 74-69 this past Tuesday. The Aviators (18-2) can clinch an outright GWOC American North title by beating Sidney (14-6, 10-3) on Tuesday.
Trotwood 121, Xenia 61: Myles Belyeu scored 31 points and Amari Davis 26 as the host Rams won their 10th straight game. It was a season-high for Trotwood (17-3, 13-0) and was the eighth time the Rams have gone for triple digits. Trotwood is averaging an area-best 92.3 points and has already clinched a GWOC American South title.
Bethel 94, Tri-Village 84 OT: Bees junior Caleb South went for 46 points and visiting Bethel (16-3, 11-0) clinched an outright Cross County Conference championship.
Tri-County North 67, Bradford 60: Dillon McCullough went for a school-record 41 points in leading the Panthers in another outstanding CCC performance. TCN has won seven of eight games.
Miamisburg 41, Lebanon 29: Senior Jason Hubbard tallied 15 points and the host Vikings secured an outright GWOC National West title. Miamisburg (16-4, 6-4) has won seven consecutive games and 12 of 13.
Alter 57, Carroll 39: Stephen Harker had 13 points and Connor Bazelak and Derek Willits 12 each to spark the host Knights (6-14, 2-7) in Greater Catholic League Co-Ed North play. The upset secured the North title for Fenwick (14-5, 7-2), which defeated Chaminade Julienne 58-47 and has just on North game remaining at Alter.
Troy Christian 44, Legacy Christian 36: Ben Schenk scored 13 points and the Eagles (18-2, 12-1) clinched at least a tie for the Metro Buckeye Conference title. It was the 14th straight win by Troy Christian.
• The boys sectional seed meetings are today. Tourney sites for most area teams are the University of Dayton Arena (D-I), Fairmont’s Trent Arena and Springfield High School (D-II), Northmont (D-III) and Piqua and Troy (D-IV).
Girls sectional play begins next week and boys one week after that.