The Wayne Bulldogs hit the court in Geronimo last Thursday to kick off the 2019-2020 basketball season.
Despite only two practices under their belt, Josh Trent’s team nabbed the third place prize and the coach was pleased with their play.
“We only had two practices with the whole team together but I think the guys played well in the Geronimo tournament. They definitely played better than what I was thinking,” Trent said.
In their first game of the tournament, Wayne knocked off Bray-Doyle 67-50.
Four Bulldogs were in double figures led by sophomores Brannon Lewelling and Ethan Mullins with 14 each.
Seniors Kris Welch added 12 and James Spencer had 10.
Wayne jumped out to a first quarter 11-6 lead and never let off the gas. They scored double digits in the final three quarters to solidify the 17 point victory.
Next up was a tough fought 66-64 loss to Frederick.
Mullins and Lewelling led the way again with 20 and 18 points respectively. Spencer singed the nets for 15 of his own.
The Bulldogs and Bombers were tightly matched for the duration of all four quarters, but Wayne couldn’t pull out the win.
In their final game of the tournament, Wayne faced Geronimo and came away with the 44-39 overtime win to seal the third place finish.
Jumping out to a 13-10 first quarter lead, Wayne saw that three-point cushion whittle away throughout the rest of the game.
Knotted at 37 at the end of regulation, the final game of the tournament was headed to overtime.
Wayne outscored Frederick 7-2 to pull out the win.
“I thought our boys played well throughout the tournament and, honestly thought we could have easily been playing for first place,” Trent said.
“A lot of guys got points during the tournament and I’m proud of newcomer Kris Welch for his hustle and toughness for the Bulldogs.
“I was proud of the boys’ play on offense and defense since they hadn’t had much practice coming straight from a long football playoff run.”
The head coach is expecting some growing for his Bulldogs as the basketball season gets underway having lost several players to graduation. This includes Rodney Gray who last year hit the 2,000 point mark.
Loaded with young talent, Trent said they will lean on their sophomores, Lewelling, Mullins, Jr. Perez and Andy Lee for help. And several seniors have already proved helpful as well. This includes Spencer, Welch, Ethan Salsman and Austin Box.
Spencer, however, will be having knee surgery soon and that will most likely keep him off the court for the remainder of the season.
“We don’t have that one dominant player like last year but we have a lot of good players and we’re figuring it all out,” Trent said.
Trent’s Lady Bulldogs also kicked off their season in Geronimo, facing the Lady Donkeys of Bray-Doyle.
Wayne fell 40-33 despite 10-point performances from Haiden Parker and Allie Walck.
Jumping out to a 11-8 lead after the first quarter of play, scoring slowed down in the second with just two points to Bray-Doyle’s 18.
But, Wayne came out of the lockerroom hot, scoring 16 points in the third and holding the Lady Donkeys to just six.
Momentum wasn’t in their favor and Wayne managed just two fourth quarter points to fall in their first game.
Up next, Wayne smoked Verden 79-23. Eleven Lady Bulldogs had points in the lopsided win.
McKenzie Fisher led the team with 17 while Parker and Lorensa Martinez each had 10.
Scoring double figures in all four quarters, including a 25 point first stanza, Wayne easily handled the Lady Tigers to put them in the consolation game.
To round out the tournament, Wayne faced Maysville and came away with the 44-40 win.
Martinez led the team with 15 points in the win.
According to the coach scoring was tougher to come by but he was proud of his team for getting two wins.
“When we did score it was spread around to a bunch of different girls which will make us hard to stop.
“I’m proud of the way the girls played together on both offense and defense,” Trent said.
Trent and his teams were scheduled to be on the road at ECP on Tuesday then in Stratford Thursday, Friday and Saturday for the Big 8 Conference tournament. Both Wayne teams play Maud in the first round with the Lady Bulldogs at 4 p.m. and the Bulldogs at 5:30 p.m.