HUBER HEIGHTS — Having three freshmen and two sophomores in your starting lineup usually means a basketball team is having a rebuilding season. That is not the case for the Wayne girls basketball team.
From the looks of things the Lady Warriors are going to be giving opponents headaches for years to come with a potent scoring attack and a defense that beats opponents to most loose balls.
Wednesday night Wayne ran its record to 12-1 overall and 2-0 in division play with a decisive 69-32 victory over visiting Northmont. Sophomore Shai McGruder led the Lady Warriors with 18 and was virtually unstoppable inside the paint. Freshmen Olivia Trice tallied 15 and Destiny Bohanan 13 while sophomore Maya Dunson added 11 to the scoring onslaught that kept Northmont’s defense on its heels all night.
Wayne Coach Sonya Miller credits part of her team’s success this season to her players being so young.
“I think they are just a little oblivious to what is going on right now and it has worked out,” Miller said.
The team scored a 51-44 victory over Beavercreek on December 19, a team Wayne had not beat in years.
“I guess it started with the Beavercreek win when the girls got a little rattled because of the pressure,” Miller noted. “We all know how great of a coach Ed Zink is, so part of our strategy was to just keep the girls calm and allow them to play. Our offense allows our girls to stay fluid and to just pass and cut or for a player to create a scoring opportunity for herself. We recognize the talent we have and we just make sure we put it into the game plan. The girls are free to play so there is not much structure there other than to let them go out and play their game. It’s an open offense and we aren’t worried about a lot of scheme other than making sure we knock some people on their butt every now and then.”
Every coach should have it so good.
After knocking off Beavercreek, the Lady Warriors scored two more signature wins back-to-back by defeating Mount Notre Dame 38-32 and Lakota West 41-35.
“Notre Dame has always been solid, so part of our strategy was to create mismatches on the floor with McGruder,” Miller commented. “We allowed her to come up to the top of the key to create some opportunities for herself and it worked out for us.”
McGruder played varsity ball last year as a freshmen and Miller felt that experience allowed her to mature as a player.
“She is just a sweetheart of a girl, but when she gets on the court it’s almost like she is a whole different person,” Miller said. “Her pace in terms of how she plays allows us to get in transition eighty percent of the time, which is what I stress to the girls. I tell the girls if we can get in transition eighty percent of the time and twenty percent set the ball up, we will have a great game. If you look at our numbers, part of our weakness as a team has been rebounding. Because we are young we sometimes take plays off and don’t always do the little things like box out, so we are working on that along with reducing our turnovers.”
Wayne also played in the Bragging Rights Tournament to open the season against out of state opponents with combined records of 30-2.
“We knew we had to go out and play our game in order to compete,” Miller said.
In her third year as head coach, Miller never dreamed the program would have advanced to the level of success the team has achieved this year.
“We didn’t expect to be where we are now, but we knew it was going to be good stuff this year going into next year,” she added.
Wayne’s defense neutralized Northmont’s outside game and prevented the Lady Bolts from scoring a single 3-point goal the entire game. Wayne clogged the paint equally as well preventing Northmont from having any double player score in double figures. Cory Mangen and Denissa Sly led Northmont with 8 points each and Shalaya Heath had 6.
The 6-foot-1 McGruder frustrated Northmont inside all night.
“She is a very talented player and Wayne does a really good job of getting the ball and pushing it up the court before you can even turn and go,” said Northmont Coach Bethany Kincer. “We told our girls beforehand that they would have to turn and spring back on defense every single time. We took a couple plays off and Wayne knocked down a couple shots and we seemed to get a little defeated emotionally. I think we did a good job at the beginning of the game boxing out and holding them off the boards, but we didn’t knock down our shots or get our normal three point shots that we have been getting the last couple of games and that definitely hurt us.”
Wayne plays at Springfield on Saturday while Northmont does not take the court again until next Wednesday at Centerville.
NMT 09 18 22 32 – 32
WAY 20 42 54 69 – 69
Northmont: Antonette Dorsey 2, Jenna Hoschouer 2, Cory Mangen 8, Anna Mangen 2, Denissa Sly 8, Shalaya Heath 6, Ryanne Stoffel 4. Totals: 12-8-32.
Wayne: Mali Morgan-Elliott 2, Olivia Trice 15, Shenell Parker 3, Kiara Herring 2, Kaye Willis 1, Destiny Bohanan 13, Shai McGruder 18, Maya Dunson 11, Sydney Billingsley 4.
3-point goals: Northmont 0; Wayne 5 (Trice 2, Parker, Bohanan, Dunson).
Records: Northmont 6-7 (1-2); Wayne 12-1 (2-0).