Milford’s Will Hannah has his shot blocked on the way to the basket during the Eagles’ district loss to Wayne, Saturday, March 14.
DAYTON –That first trip to the regionals is going to have to wait for Milford.
The Eagles’ hopes of capping their best season in 44 years with an unprecedented district championship were decisively dashed by Huber Heights Wayne Saturday afternoon at University of Dayton Arena.
Warriors’ senior Xeyrius Williams, a Dayton recruit, logged a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds to lead Wayne, ranked eighth in the Associated Press Division I statewide poll, to a 63-39 win over Milford in the first of four Division I district championship games at the site.
Williams sank all three of his 3-point shots and junior Demond Parker was 3-for-5 from behind the line to finish with nine points for the Warriors, who enjoyed a whopping 34-19 advantage in rebounds.
Senior guard Ryan Gallimore scored 10 points to lead the Eagles, who were making their first appearance in a district championship game since 1971, part of a memorable season that included a school-record 18-game winning streak and 22 wins.
Eagles coach Joe Cambron called it historic.
“It’s one that you’ll always be proud of, but I’m more proud of the kids who did it,” Cambron said.
The 39 points was a season-low for the Eagles, and the margin of defeat was their widest of the season.
Wayne is scheduled to meet the winner of Saturday’s nightcap between Elder, ranked fifth in the Enquirer’s Division I coaches’ poll and seventh in the state, and Centerville, the state’s No. 7 team, in a regional semifinal Wednesday at 8 p.m. at Xavier University’s Cintas Center.
Neither team led by more than four points through the first quarter, which ended with Wayne leading, 15-12. The Warriors opened the second quarter with a 7-2 run to grab a 22-14 lead with 4:15 left. The Eagles, which finished the regular season ranked eighth in the Enquirer’s Division I poll, missed four free throws while scoring scored just four points in the quarter and went into the locker room trailing, 26-16.
Milford’s game plan was to clog the middle and try to slow down Wayne’s offense, Cambron said.
“What we were proudest of was holding them to 26 points in the first half,” he said. “That’s what we were trying to do. We just couldn’t maintain it for 16 more minute.”
Wayne’s defense was the difference, according to Warriors’ coach Travis Trice.
“Absolutely,” he said. “We kept full-court pressure on the whole game, and I think it wore them down.”
The pressure was withering, Cambron agreed.
“One of our assistants said at halftime that they have five guys who can get a five-second count on you,” Cambron said. “Most teams typically have one or two. Every time one of our guys got the ball, he was looking at a (Wayne) jersey.”
The 6-foot-8 Williams, a second-team all-Southwest district pick, opened the third quarter with a 3-pointer and a putback to push Wayne’s lead to 31-16 less than two minutes into the quarter.
“He’s a big-time talent,” Trice said. “He can get the ball around the basket and finish, he rebounds, and he can knock down jump shots.”
The Warriors, who play in the Greater Western Ohio Conference, led by as many as 29 points late in the game.
Wayne ( 22-4) – Wagner 2 2 6, Landers 3 1 7, Tiggs 1 0 2 Smith 2 3 7, Caldwell 2 3 8, Young 0 1 1 Williams 5 2 15, D. Trice 3 1 8, Parker 3 0 9. Totals: 21 13 63.
Milford (22-4) – Wenzler 1 3 5, Gallimore 4 0 10, Hall 3 0 6, Hannah 2 2 6, Riesenberg 0 2 2, Kirk 1 0 3, Arnold 1 0 2, Greenwell 1 0 2, Shiplett 1 0 3. Totals: 14 7 39.
Halftime: Wayne, 26-16. 3-pointers: W 8 (Parker 3, Williams 3, D. Trice, Caldwell), M 4 (Gallimore 2, Kirk, Shiplett).