Webber Township 'rolls' on
Rival Wayne City is merely a 'bump in the road' in a 61-27 triumph

BLUFORD - After winning the Christopher Thanksgiving Tournament last week, the Webber Township Trojans got nearly a week to reflect on what they had accomplished.

Three-straight victories meant 'back-to-back Christopher titles and the 'much-anticipated' 2004-05 campaign had begun on a 'high note.'

Conference rival and nemeses Wayne City was the first one up for the Trojans to tackle in regular season play on Friday night after its championship run at Christopher.

Not only was this an important league contest, but it was also the Webber Township Homecoming game.

Coach Clarence Gross's club was riding pretty high last season when Wayne City put Webber in its place with an upset at the Conrad Allen Holiday Tournament.

However after the first few moments of the contest Friday night, there was little doubt of this night's outcome.

Webber laid down the 'Mid-South gauntlet' with a dominating 61-27 win, which featured the IHSA mercy rule 'continuous clock' for the very quickly played fourth quarter.

Joey Ullery, the Trojans 6-foot-4 swingman topped the Trojans (5-0) with 19 points, while his running mate in the frontcourt, 6-foot-3 forward Jabe Michel, added 12 physical points.

A total of eight Webber players 'hit the scorebook' in this blowout.

"We had a pretty good team effort tonight. We wanted to set the tone early on the defensive end and it showed tonight that we were ready," said Gross. "We got a few steals early and got the tempo in our favor."

With the loss, head coach Steve Strickland's Indians stand 1-3 on the year and have some question marks heading into next week with a predominately inexperienced team.

"We have to take from this game that we have to learn what is a good shot and what isn't a good shot," said Strickland. "We have got to have good possessions of the ball. We don't have the 'horses' that teams like Webber have and we have to be patient with the ball."

For the first three minutes of the game, Wayne City hung in with Webber.

Despite being down 4-zip in the early moments, Wayne City wanted to work for a good shot each trip down the floor.

After a basket by Ullery and a pair of free throws by Michel, the Indians worked 1:37 off the clock on its next possession.

Eventually Webber's Cody Schwartz fouled Wayne City senior Julian Loker with 5:39 to go in the opening quarter. Loker made the back end of the two shot chance and it was 4-1 Webber.

After a Trojan misfire, WC go an 18-foot jumper from J.C. Taylor to fall and it was looking more like the Indians were set to hang around on this night.

But in a 'blink of an eye', Webber Township scored 17 of the games' next 19 points.

The scoring avalanche started with another shot by Ullery from the left wing.

After a Wayne City turnover, Michel scored again in the lane on a great interior pass from Schwartz to send the lead to 8-3 with 3:36 left.

Taylor hit his second shot of the quarter on shot from the right elbow to cut the lead back to three.

But at that point, the Indians' circled wagon 'blew a tire' in a big way.

The Trojans scored the games' next 11-points.

Webber closed the first quarter of homecoming night with a quick 'three-strike' coronation.

Ullery hit again on a lay in after a steal; Bryce McKenzie got into the scoring mood with a 15-footer from the left corner to make it 12-5 Webber.

Then one of the key points of the game came up in a bad way for Wayne City.

After a turnover late in the quarter, the Indians' defensive troops fell asleep for a moment ending the quarter.

Ullery, who had missed three-straight early attempts from behind the arc, was allowed to walk the ball up into the frontcourt with time running down.

When no one came out to challenge him, Ullery let fly with a 3-point attempt from the top of the arc that found the scoring mark.

His first 'trifecta' of the night sent the teams to the first break at 15-5 Trojans.

If you thought that Wayne City's first quarter was a bad dream, the second was truly 'a nightmare.'

Loker made a pair of free throws 5:06 left before halftime.

That was an important part in the second quarter scenario as those were the only two points of the frame for the Indians.

McKenzie managed to do some additional damage in the second quarter on a fast-break lay up on the first Webber possession and later on a 3-pointer on a pass from Michel.

Michel capped off the impressive half for the home club with a steal and two-handed slam-dunk to close out the scoring at the intermission horn. The scoreboard read 32-7 Webber.

"We had our opportunities in the first half to do some good things on the offensive end but we couldn't get shots to fall or we would turn the ball over," added Strickland.

Actually the Indians showed some good signs early in the second half.

Consecutive baskets by Loker and Taylor made it 32-11 with 6:59 left in the third.

But the scoring storm by the Trojans in the second frame was but a 'whimper' in comparison to the long range assault by Coach Gross' 'Bluford Bombardiers' in the third stanza.

On five straight possessions, Webber Township hit five 3-pointers.

McKenzie, Ullery, Brad Porter, Porter again, and Cory Braden (off of the Webber bench) hit from behind the arc.

These shots KO'ed the Indians, making the score 51-15 with 1:29 left in the quarter.

Loker and Taylor put four more combined points on the board before the quarter ended.

However the damage had been done and Ullery (with two free throws) and Braden (a short shot from 10-feet) finished the scoring of the quarter at 55-17.

The continuous clock and the reserve units for each squad finished out the one-sided affair.

"We have got a way's to go and I am not giving up on these kids," added Strickland. "We have to continue to do the right things to get better."

Loker and Taylor led the Indians with nine and eight points each.

After Ullery and Michel, Webber got contributions from McKenzie with 11-points; while Porter hit two 3-pointers to add up to six points on the night.

Coach Gross talked about the upcoming schedule and a rematch with the Indians looming at the Conrad Allen Holiday Tournament coming up in ten days.

"It is always going to be tough to beat a team like Wayne City at their place, especially after a win like tonight," Gross added. "But tonight we jumped out early and that was our plan. You don't want teams like Wayne City hanging around because they are the type of team that can get you late in the game. We got our tempo tonight and they didn't and that was the difference."

The Trojans were the pre-season consensus favorites to win the Mid-South, but the defending champions from Woodlawn is the next hurdle on the Trojans schedule on Tuesday night at Woodlawn.

"That is always a tough ball game. Coach (Shane) Witzel always has his kids ready and we will need to be ready as well," finalized Coach Gross.

Wayne City
Webber Township

Wayne City (27) - Butler 1 0 0-0 2, Loker 3 0 3-4 9, Taylor 4 0 0-0 8, Bradford 1 0 2-4 4, Rightnowar 1 0 0-0 2.
2FG 10, 3FG-0, FT-5-8.
Webber Township (61) - Porter 0 2 0-0 6, McKenzie 2 2 1-2 11, Ullery 5 2 3-4 19, Michel 3 0 6-8 12, Braden 1 1 0-0 5, Trout 1 0 0-0 2, Scott 2 0 0-0 4, Chambliss 0 0 1-2 1
2FG-14, 2FG-7, FT-12-18.