Woodlawn wins MTC title
McKay nets 26, Cardinals roll past Wayne City; Finish 8-0 in league play

WAYNE CITY – On the wall coming out of the locker room at Notre Dame Stadium where the Fighting Irish football team takes the field, there is a sign that reads “Play Like A Champion Today.”

When it comes to the Midland Trail Conference, that is how the Woodlawn Cardinals take the floor.

Once again the Cardinals are MTC champs in boy's basketball.

After a down year in 2016-17 where they ended up in fourth place in the regular season, this year's crew got back to the business of championship play.

In dominating fashion, Coach Brian Gamber's squad took no prisoners as they battered host Wayne City on Tuesday night.

Jumping out to an early lead and while shutting down the Indians' offense, the Cardinals never trailed as they closed the book on another league title run.

Woodlawn finished the 2017-18 MTC campaign at 8-0 with a convincing 58-38 triumph over the hosts.

Sophomore Blake McKay led the offensive attack for Woodlawn, who are now 18-7 overall, with 26-points.

The 6-foot-1 guard nailed five 3-pointers, half of the Cardinals' 10 long range baskets, in the rout.

Heading out to an early 8-0 thanks to McKay, the Cardinals grabbed the programs' ninth MTC regular season title in 10 seasons with the triumph.

Junior guard Jackson Bennett added 14-points for Woodlawn as he also contributed to the outside onslaught with three 3-point bombs.

Sophomore Race Rynski tossed in nine-points for the Cards.

“Last year this group finished fourth (in the conference standings) and for this group it is something that they hadn't experienced. It's a great way to cap it off, especially here against a really good team that was playing really well at the time,” said Coach Gamber. “To play as well as we did and to shoot as well as we did it is a really good win.”

The Indians saw their mark slip to 17-5 overall and 4-2 in the MTC.

Coach Jeff Morris got 10-points from junior Dalton Smith and seven-points from junior guard Jayzale O'Neal in defeat.

But the figures told the tale in this matchup as Woodlawn won every statistical battle.

The Cardinals ended up hitting 20-of-41 shots while canning 10-of-19 from the arc.

Woodlawn commanded the glass as they out boarded the hosts, 25-12, holding the Indians to just four total offensive rebounds and just two through three quarters of play.

The Cardinals forced nine first half turnovers as they took advantage of the mistakes and turned many of the miscues into points.

The Indians were just 13-of-35 overall (37.1 percent) and 5-of-15 from the arc.

“They (Woodlawn) outplayed us. They play hard and they play smart. They shot the ball extremely well and if they shoot the ball that well they will be tough to beat,” said Coach Morris. “That is a good ball team.”

McKay got the Cardinals off to a great start as he nailed a pair of treys from the left side of the court and added a pair of free throws for a quick 8-0 advantage.

Rinski scored on a nice pass from senior Blake Fewkes to give the Cards a 10-2 lead.

Senior guard Jaxon King scored six-points on the night for Wayne City and he hit the first of his two 3-pointers to close the first quarter scoring at 10-5 Cards.

Woodlawn opened the second quarter in the same fashion as they did to begin the game.

A 15-5 run gave the Cardinals a double-digit led.

A free throw by Bennett, a drive by McKay and a 3-pointer from Fewkes got things going and then Bennett connected twice from the arc.

His second trey from the left wing, followed by a McKay trifecta from near the same spot, pushed the lead to 25-10 with 2:09 left.

“When you go on the road and win against a team that has only lost four games, you know you have to play well and we did,” said Coach Gamber. “We executed well. We talked about their zone, their 1-2-2 tramp, and the key was not to turn it over. We couldn't give them live ball turnovers because that is when they (Wayne City) are at their best. When they went man our guys did a nice job of being patient and taking what they give you. And you always look better when you make shots. We got good shots and they were in rhythm.”

Smith scored on a drive to the basket to close the scoring as the Indians trailed by 13 at the break.

Coach Morris' group put some points on the board in the third quarter and got back to within eight-points at 32-24 with 4:55 left when Jaxon King hit his second 3-pointer of the game.

However Bennett answered with a 3-pointer for Woodlawn moments later that triggered a 13-2 scoring binge, which included 10-straight points for a 46-26 lead.

McKay and Rynski each hit 3-pointers while Bennett and McKay scored on separate drives to the goal.

O'Neal stopped the run with a pair of free throws but the damage had been done as Woodlawn led by 18 at the end of the third.

Wayne City had a glimmer of hope to begin the fourth quarter as they got to the foul line three consecutive times.

But the Indians only converted 3-of-6 foul shots which hardly made a dent in the deficit.

The Cardinals responded by spreading out their offense and shooting shots in the lane off of drives to the basket.

McKay, Bennett and Fewkes all converted lay ups in a three minute span.

Rynski scored on a wide open shot on the left side of the goal on an assist from McKay, and then McKay closed his evening with two free throws and a 56-36 lead.

Reserves closed out the final minute as the Cardinals celebrated yet another league crown.

Woodlawn has two tough regular season games remaining at home, with Metro-East Lutheran coming to them on February 9 and then ABV 1A top-ranked Cairo comes to Jefferson County on February 16.

“Defensively we have been playing really well. And you have got to if you want to go deep into the postseason. If you want to give yourself a chance, you have to guard,” said Coach Gamber. “We did a really nice job of limiting them tonight, we forced them into some tough shots.”

Wayne City has conference games at home against Sandoval and Waltonville sandwiched around a game against Louisville North Clay. All three of those games are at home.

“We missed a lot of shots around the basket that I thought we should make and it has been that way all year,” said Coach Morris. “But they defensively contest everything, their hands are active and they get after you. But we have to do a better job finishing shots inside if we are going to have a chance to beat a team like them. They attack the glass and they are one of the better rebounding teams we have faced. They just do a lot of things right. They had a good game plan and they stuck it to us.”

Wayne City
Woodlawn (58) – McKay 3 5 5-6 26, Rynski 3 1 0-0 9 Bennett 2 3 1-3 14, Hollenkamp 0 0 0-0 0, B. Fewkes 1 1 0-0 5, A. Fewkes 0 0 0-0 0, Hu. England 0 0 0-0 0, Maharrey 0 0 0-0 0, Ha. England 1 0 0-0 2, Tiemann 0 0 0-0 0, Wenzel 0 0 0-0 0, Kiesow 0 0 0-0 0.
2FG-10, 3FG-10, FT-8-11, PF-15.

Wayne City (38)
- Barbee 0 0 0-0 0, White 0 0 0-0 0, O'Neal 2 0 3-6 7, Smith 1 2 2-3 10, King 0 2 0-0 6, Horton 3 0 0-1 6, Carbonetti 1 1 0-0 5, Clark 0 0 0-0 0, Sledge 1 0 0-0 2, Miller 0 0 0-0 0, Durham 0 0 0-0 0, Henson 0 0 2-4 2, Dickey 0 0 0-0 0.
2FG-8, 3FG-5, FT-7-14, PF-13.

Fouled Out
– King - Wayne City.
Technical Fouls
– None.