Wayne City edges NCOE
Indians recover from bad fourth quarter, win 40-36; Improve to 9-3
– The Wayne City Indians were heading to a relatively easy double-digit victory on Tuesday night against visiting NCOE.

They led by as many as 13-points in the third quarter and a 3-point bomb by top scorer Travis Dickey gave the hosts' a 35-23 lead with 7:01 remaining in the fourth quarter.

But at this point, for nearly the next six minutes of play, nothing went right for Wayne City and head coach Jim Corona.

Norris City-Omaha-Enfield went on a run that gave the Cardinals a lead with just over a minute remaining.

In this stretch the hosts missed three field goal attempts, missed two consecutive 1-and-1 free throw chances and committed three turnovers.

The Cardinals scored 13-consecutive points to take a 36-35 advantage.

But as they have for most of the season, Wayne City turned to their top scorer for help to secure the win and he didn't let anyone down.

Dickey got the ball near the top of the circle and drove down the left side of the lane between NCOE defenders for a lay in that gave back the lead to the hosts with :47 remaining.

“We did an outstanding job of slowing him (Dickey) down. The first time we played them he had 29-points. We know what kind of a fine player that he is,” said NCOE head coach Jim Tucker. “When the game was on the line late, they gave him the ball and he came through for them.”

The Fighting Cardinals, who had struggled for most of the game offensively finding the basket, reverted back to the difficulty scoring for the remaining time of the clock.

Wayne City closed out the contest with freshman Taj McKinney and junior Andrew White combining to hit 3-of-6 late free throws to take home a 40-36 victory in a non-conference game on Tuesday night.

NCOE missed their final six field goal attempts after taking the lead as they connected on just 15-of-49 field goal attempts on the night.

Coach Tucker saw his team produce a good rally to get back the lead but then they couldn't finish the job as they drop to 3-6 on the season.

“We struggled tonight (shooting) and we had some good open looks but they just would not fall for us,” said Coach Tucker.

Wayne City's numbers weren't much better than the Cardinals offensively.

Coach Corona's club hit just 14-of-45 shooting, and, the normally good foul shooting Indians struggled at the line.

They hit just 5-of-12 from the stripe.

That is usually a formula for disaster but the Tribe held on to improve to 9-3 overall.

“We started out as a pretty good free throw shooting team but now we are down to about 64 percent, which is the national high school average. But you have to be much better if you want to go anywhere (postseason),” said Coach Corona. “At the end we just needed one or two stops and we got them.”

Dickey led all scorers in the low scoring affair with 15-points while he got help from White who netted eight-points.

McKinney and senior forward Kyle Sledge added six-points each.

Two key factors that didn't show up on the scorebook came on the defensive end of the floor for Wayne City.

Marcus Durham, a 6-foot-2 junior forward, scored just three-points on the night but he came up big on the glass as he corralled 12-rebounds to help lead the Indians to a 32-29 rebounding advantage.

“I told Marcus (Durham) after he had a game of one basket and three rebounds that 'you got to show up for us' and tonight he did a great job and he got some big boards for us,” said Coach Corona.

Dane Horton, a 6-foot-1 senior, didn't score a point on the night but he did other things that were important to the home team winning.

Horton pulled down seven-rebounds and he also did a great defensive job slowing down one of the NCOE top guns.

Horton held top 3-point shooter, sophomore CJ Richardson, without a trey and just two-points total.

“I can't say enough about the job Dane (Horton) did. He did a great job on #24 (CJ Richardson). He (Richardson) got five 3's against us the first time (68-59 win at Christopher Thanksgiving Tournament) but he ended up with one desperation 3-pointer tonight,” said Coach Corona. “He was the IHSA 3-point champion last season and Dane did a great job defending him.”

Norris City-Omaha-Enfield was led by senior Brandon Skaggs with 13-points and four-rebounds.

Senior Houston Money (6-points) and sophomore guard Jack Riggs (5-points) helped out in the low scoring game.

Riggs opened the game with a 3-pointer from the right wing to get the Cardinals an early lead.

Two buckets by Skaggs and a 3-pointer by Money ended a close first frame at 10-9 NCOE.

Offensively the two teams set a bad tone on the night in that opening stanza, as together they were an “under productive” 8-of-24 from the floor.

The Indians took the lead into intermission with an 11-4 run to close the half.

White hit his second of two 3-pointers in the game and Dickey scored on a drive into the lane for a short jumper.

A free throw by Durham sent the clubs to the break at 21-17 WC.

While both teams missed more shots in the second quarter, the Indians held the lead in part by also having an 11-4 rebounding margin.

Sparked by their defense, Wayne City jumped out with three quick buckets by McKinney and Dickey.

After a steal and score from McKinney, Dickey scored twice in the paint to give the hosts a 27-17 lead with just over four minutes left in the third quarter.

After a baseline score from NCOE's sophomore Joe Melton, Dickey again scored in the paint and Sledge nailed another 3-pointer as the Indians reached their largest scoring edge.

Baskets by Skaggs and Riggs closed the quarter for NCOE.

Each team hit double-figures in turnovers was the host Indians committed 13 compared to 11 from the Cardinals.

Of the rebounds that NCOE managed to get, only seven were offensive boards with five of them coming late in the game while they were in “scramble mode.”

“We tell the kids that long shots equal long rebounds and tonight we had balls bouncing over our heads,” said Coach Tucker. “They (Wayne City) are quick and they got around us tonight on rebounds on those long shots.”

NCOE gets a break from action until December 27 as they will face host Eldorado in the opening round of the Eldorado Holiday Tournament.

Wayne City has a date with National Trail Conference club Dieterich at the Louisville North Clay Shootout on December 22nd.

The Indians will face the Movin' Maroons at 8 pm in the finale of eight games played that day between teams from the Midland Trail and the NTC.

“I just got through telling the kids that we played great man defense for 27-minutes and then we started standing around and thought we had it won, we let them do a couple of back doors on us, and the momentum changed,” said Coach Corona. “A lot of times when you stink on defense you let it bother you on this end (offensive) and I could tell it bothered us. We were lucky to hang on.”

Norris City-Omaha-Enfield
Wayne City
Norris City-Omaha-Enfield (36) – Riggs 1 1 0-0 5, Dauby 0 0 0-0 0, Skaggs 4 1 2-4 13, T. Money 2 0 0-0 4, Richardson 1 0 0-0 2, Barton 0 0 0-0 0, Simmons 2 0 0-0 4, H. Money 0 2 0-0 6, Melton 1 0 0-0 2, O'Neal 0 0 0-0 0.
2FG-11, 3FG-4, FT-2-4, PF-17.

Wayne City (40) – White 0 2 2-5 8, McKinney 2 0 2-5 6, Horten 0 0 0-0 0, Sledge 0 2 0-0 6, Miller 1 0 0-0 2, Durham 1 0 1-2 3, Dickey 6 1 0-0 15.
2FG-10, 3FG-5, FT-5-12, PF-7.

Fouled Out – None.
Technical Fouls – None.