Nation’s No. 2 team escapes Huber Heights Wayne at FTTH

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Wayne sophomore Travis Trice scored 22 points against the No. 2 team in the country at FTTH. (Photo by Nick Falzerano)

Rasham Suarez saved his best shot for last in Monday’s spectacular
final game of the Flyin’ to the Hoop invitational at Trent Arena. The sophomore point guard only scored two points all night, but
those points were the decisive factor in nationally ranked Nevada
school Findlay Prep’s 66-62 victory over Huber Heights Wayne.


KETTERING – Rasham Suarez saved his best shot for last in Monday’s spectacular final game of the Flyin’ to the Hoop invitational at Trent Arena.

The sophomore point guard only scored two points all night, but
those points were the decisive factor in nationally ranked Nevada
school Findlay Prep’s 66-62 victory over Huber Heights Wayne.

“He (Suarez) kept his head in the game,” said Findlay Prep head coach Michael Peck. “I tell the kids that it is always possible that the game will come down to a foul shot, or a turnover, or a defensive stand. Getting ready to make that one play. That’s how you win basketball games.”

The Pilots (Henderson, Nevada, 20-0) entered the game ranked No. 2 in the nation by USA Today. Wayne (8-3, 3-1), on the other hand, is merely one of the better teams in its own league (Greater Western Ohio Conference Central Division) and area.

Warrior SF Marcus Crider scored on a beautiful give-and-go pass feed courtesy of Lamar Mallory to tie the game at 57. Moments later, a Travis Trice free throw gave the Warriors a 61-60 lead that they would hold until just 18.6 seconds were left on the clock.

But, Suarez intercepted a trigger pass by Crider, and a length-of-the-court-drive later this highly physical game, essentially, was over.

How physical was it? Try 48-foul-shots.

“I wanted to find out if we were competitive,” head coach Travis Trice, Sr. said. “I wanted to find out if we could compete for a full 32 minutes. And I wanted to know if we had heart.

“I told them at the end of the day, that if we show those things that we would be victorious. I’m not into moral victories… but I’m proud of each and every member of our team.”

Wayne belonged in this battle. The Warriors actually requested that this game be scheduled, and if they played it again they would be in it again. Write it down.

All-tournament team member, Avery Bradley (23 points), dueled Trice (22) to a hard fought standstill. Both players displayed smooth floor games, textbook perfect jump shots, and the ability to score from anywhere past the half court line—at any time.

Just a sophomore, Trice is emerging as one of the premier players in a southwest region that is already quite blessed with talented players. He doubles as the head coach’s son and has scholarship offers from Dayton, Wright State and Cleveland State.

“Wayne’s going to have a great season,” an appreciative Peck said. “But let me tell you – you know, that Trice kid, and that other kid (Crider)? They are going to be great players. Wow.

“I was thoroughly impressed. They’re as good as anyone we’ve played this season.”

Jordan Bazile joined Trice in double figures with 16 points. Brandon Williams (1), Devin Bartlett (5), Mallory (8), Dominique Fowler (3), and Crider (7) also scored. Crider too has offers from UD, Wright State and Cleveland State. An Ohio State assistant was there Monday to watch.

On paper, the whole thing looked like a mismatch. But for the third time in as many nights, a GWOC team outplayed – and in the process, scared the tar out of – a nationally ranked team at FTTH.

On Sunday night, the Centerville Elks should have beaten Montrose Christian ((13-1, No. 6 USA Today) but they missed 17 foul shots.

And Trotwood-Madison (the game was tied with less than 2:00 on the clock) should have beaten the same Montrose Christian team on Saturday night. The Rams lost 52-49.

Just how good is the GWOC this season? Consider that a very talented 8-4 Northmont team is only 1-3 in the Central Division.

“We’ve been a little up and down,” Coach Trice said. “We’ve been careless with the basketball at times. But we’re not going to play another team like Findlay Prep (this year). If we can score, and if we can defend, and if we can rebound like that?

“I found out tonight that our team has the ability and the potential to be great. What we will do with all of that potential is another story.”

Cory Joseph (12) and Victor Rudd (10) scored in double figures along with Bradley for the Pilots.

Issiah Grayson (1), Carlos Lopez (5), Godwin Okonji (4), DJ Richardson (9), and Suarez provided enviable depth.

The Flyin’ to the Hoop All-Tournament team was announced after the game, and it was a pretty exclusive group including: JJ Sullinger (Columbus Northland High School), Jeremy Tyler (San Diego High School), Matt Kavanaugh (Centerville High School), Josh Schuler (Graham High School) and Avery Bradley (Findlay Prep High School).

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