Cardinals edge Indians for MTC title
Rynski nails down two free throws with :08.2 left, Woodlawn tops Wayne City 55-53
Odin, Cisne pick up final day victories
WAYNE CITY - The Woodlawn Cardinals have had ownership of the Midland Trail Conference tournament championship trophy for a long time.

In fact they only have one tournament loss since they joined the league in 2007-08; a 49-48 championship game defeat to Odin in January of 2014.

If the math is correct, the Cardinals have won 12 of 13 MTC tournament titles.

Thanks to a pair of free throws in the final seconds by senior Race Rynski and some very smart defensive decisions in the final moments, Woodlawn will keep the title for another year.

With the game knotted at 53-all, Woodlawn held the ball for nearly two minutes before Rynski got loose in the lane for a shot attempt while being fouled with :08.2 remaining.

After a Wayne City timeout, the senior veteran nailed down both shots to give the Cardinals the lead.

Following the made free throws, Coach Brian Gamber's club only had three personal fouls in the second half so they had three more to give before Wayne City would get to the free throw line.

After using all three of the fouls, Woodlawn left the Indians just :02.9 left when they inbounded the ball to guard Taj McKinney.

The sophomore guard got off a pretty good shot driving towards the basket that would have sent the teams into overtime.

But his shot, although on target, came up a bit short hitting off of the front of the rim and falling to the floor as the horn sounded.

“He (Rynski) is a guy that I said before the year started that people forget how good he is. He missed most of last season with an ankle injury. He's a senior, he's tough, he's mentally tough, He's not afraid of the moment,” said Coach Gamber. “We have a lot of guys who aren't afraid of taking that big shot, making that big play or making those free throws.”

The Cardinals survived a horrible offensive third quarter as they rallied for the championship win in front of a large afternoon crowd in Wayne City.

Woodlawn now sits at 18-3 overall for the season.

The Cardinals were led by Rynski 17 points and five rebounds, including the big free throws at the end.

In a game were there were very few personal fouls called, Rynski was the only Woodlawn player to reach the charity stripe, making 4-of-4 in the game.

Junior guard Jackson Tiemann added 16 points for Woodlawn, including four 3-pointers.

Tournament Most Valuable Player senior Blake McKay netted 11 points but he continued to prove that he is much more than just a scorer.

The 6-foot-2 guard dished out six assists while grabbing four rebounds.

Senior guard Chase Hollenkamp and junior Hayden England added seven and four points respectively to the championship total.

For the host Indians, the tournament title was within their sights on this Saturday afternoon.

After getting off to a great second half start, which carried over into the beginning of the fourth quarter, they allowed the Woodlawn comeback as Coach Jim Corona's team fell to 14-6 overall.

The Indians were led in scoring by 6-foot-4 senior forward Kaiden Taylor who netted a game-best 20 points.

Taylor also snagged six rebounds for the Indians.

Six-foot-two senior Marcus Durham scored 12 points and grabbed seven rebounds while senior guard Kent Miller added eight points.

Miller was instrumental in the game on the defensive end as he shadowed McKay for most of the night, holding the high scoring guard below his season average.

Senior Travis Dickey scored six points, all in the second half, while McKinney scored five points

The sophomore guard led the Indians with 10 rebounds.

“Going into it we knew that we were going to get their best effort and when they play like that they are dangerous,” said Coach Gamber about Wayne City. “They have a lot of talent and a lot of weapons. I liked the fact that we handled adversity. I don't want to say they had us 'on the ropes' but they had it rolling and hit some shots while we had some (shots) rolling out. But we didn't panic. That is why we want to play in these games. It was a big atmosphere, a regional championship type. For us to stay calm the way we did, we are going to need that come postseason.”

Durham was tough to handle in the first quarter as he led the Indians early with 10 of his 12 coming in the first eight minutes.

Durham was very good posting up on either side of the lane.

Woodlawn got three 3-pointers in the quarter from Tiemann (2) and Hollenkamp.

Tiemann's second bomb came from the right corner after a great skip pass from McKay for an 11-6 advantage with 3:33 remaining.

“He (McKay) is a tremendous scorer but what gets lost is that he has led us in every category the last two years,” said Coach Gamber about McKay. “He is a great rebounder, he gets other guys involved, and that is what he did today. He took what the defense gave him. He missed some shots today he normally makes but he was guarding hard and distributing the ball and getting it to the right spots. And that is what it takes to get big wins.”

But Taylor scored in the lane and Durham scored twice near the basket to bring the Indians back closer.

Rynski closed out the quarter with a reverse lay in after taking a pass from McKay as the Cardinals held a 15-12 lead at the end of the first quarter.

Woodlawn took a commanding lead in the second quarter as they were on the cusp of blowing the game open.

A 12-2 run in the middle of the second quarter got the Cardinals the separation that they craved.

McKay and Tiemann both buried 3-pointers and then Hollenkamp and McKay scored on drives to the basket.

After an answer from Taylor inside, Rynski took a lob pass from Tiemann for a score that made it 34-20 with 2:38 left.

With McKay now on the bench after picking up his second foul, Wayne City closed the half strong.

McKinney tallied his only made shot of the day, a 3-pointer on an inbounds play.

Then Miller hit a 3-pointer from the top of the arc and then scored on a drive in the lane as Wayne City was back within two possessions at 34-30 at intermission.

Woodlawn hit 7-of-12 shots in the second quarter, 13-of-25 for the half and had just three turnovers as they led by four.

However the third quarter wasn't what the Cardinals were hoping for.

Coach Gamber's squad couldn't buy a basket.

After a score by Tiemann to start the second half, the Cardinals went on to miss their next 11 field goal attempts.

During this bad shooting streak, Wayne City went on a 13-0 run to take the lead.

Taylor scored eight of the points on a pair of scores in the lane and 2-of-4 free throws.

Miller canned a 3-pointer from the right wing to give the Indians their first lead at 38-36.

Toss in a pair of free throws in the run by McKinney and Wayne City led 43-36 with 2;29 left in the quarter.

Woodlawn finally got back on track with McKay and England scoring.

But Dickey, a 6-foot-2 senior guard who hadn't scored yet in the game, hit his first shot of the night to close the third quarter at 45-40 Wayne City.

Dickey wasn't finished as he added two more scores on consecutive possessions at the start of the fourth quarter as Indians took their largest lead of the game, 49-40.

Championship caliber teams will always respond to adversity and the Cardinals did just that.

After an England basket on a drive, Rynski went to work.

He made a pair of free throws before scoring on a rebound of his own missed shot in the lane.

His next chance and points came on a drive in the lane to cut the deficit to just 49-48.

Durham, who hadn't scored since the opening stanza, scored on a baseline shot to push the lead back to three.

Then Tiemann got the Cardinals back even by nailing down a 3-pointer from the top of the arc to tie the score at 51-all with 2:36 left.

“It (championship) means a lot. Wayne City is a really good team and they are not to be under estimated in the postseason,” said McKay. “We found a way to win and we are really proud of that. It (comeback) shows how much we have matured. Last year or the year before we might panic but to be able to calm down, relax and get back in it, it shows a lot about our maturity. We worked really hard for this.”

Wayne City's final advantage came moments later as Taylor got a nice pass from Durham for a basket for a 53-51 lead.

Then a couple of crucial plays occurred that gave Woodlawn back the lead, and eventually the title.

McKay, who hadn't scored since late in the third quarter, got loose for a drive to the basket to even things at 53-53 with 2:02 showing on the clock.

After Wayne City got the ball near the timeline, England made a big time play as he came up with a steal near mid-court.

The subsequent battle for the loose ball ended up with Woodlawn as Coach Gamber called timeout with 1:51 left and the game tied.

Teams with confidence in what they are doing can pull off what the Cardinals did next.

Woodlawn held the ball for a last shot with McKay handling the ball most of the time.

The Cardinals finally made their move and got the ball to Rynski.

His drive to the basket was defended by both Taylor and Dickey as he got into the paint.

Taylor got what appeared to be a clean block but Dickey made contact and was called for a foul, sending Rynski to the line.

The Woodlawn senior took care of the rest.

Coach Corona's club shot the ball well enough (23-of-48 overall) to win most games and the were pretty good handling the rock as they committed just seven turnovers.

The Indians also held a 28-20 rebounding edge.

But the Cardinals were slightly better where it counted.

Coach Gamber's team committed just three turnovers, all of which were in the first half.

In a clean played game, Wayne City had just seven turnovers.

Woodlawn ended up 22-of-53 overall but they hit 7-of-17 from the arc, compared to 3-of-12 for Wayne City.

Both teams hit four free throws with Wayne City hitting 4-of-8 while Rynski hit all four of his chances, with the final two giving his team the MTC title.

“It's not easy. I know we have won this (championship) a lot, but I don't think people understand what kind of work gets put in to win this thing so many years. Everybody wants to beat Woodlawn. So you have to play at your best because other teams are going to play at their best.”

Wayne City

Wayne City (53) – Taylor 9 0 2-6 20, McKinney 0 1 2-2 5, Duwez 0 0 0-0 0, Miller 1 2 0-0 8, Durham 6 0 0-0 12, Cooper 1 0 0-0 2, Dickey 3 0 0-0 6.
2FG-20, 3FG-3, FT-4-8, PF-5.

Woodlawn (55) – Hu. England 0 0 0-0 0, Rynski 5 1 4-4 17, McKay 4 1 0-0 11, Hollenkamp 2 1 0-0 7, Tiemann 2 4 0-0 16, Ha. England 2 0 0-0 4.
2FG-15, 3FG-7, FT-4-4, PF-11..

Fouled Out – None.
Technical Fouls – None.

The Eagles ended up in third place in the MTC tournament with a win over the Spartans.

Coach Tyler Miller got 23 points from 6-foot-3 senior guard Lucas Shaffer and 17 points from 5-foot-10 senior Ethan Finckbone as Coach Tyler Mitchell's club now sits at 13-9 on the season.

Waltonville is now 8-10 overall with the loss, despite 17 points from Dillon Banach and nine points from Reagan Newell.

Third Place

Waltonville (34) – Dressler 0 0 0-0 0, Newell 2 0 5-6 9, Reynolds 0 0 0-0 0, Schmitt 0 0 0-0 0, Pennington 0 1 1-2 4, Chelf 0 0 0-0 0, Haley 1 0 2-2 4, Griffith 0 0 0-0 0, Banach 7 0 3-4 17, Delaney 0 0 0-0 0.
2FG-10, 3FG-1, FT-11-14, PF-20.

Odin (56) – Finckbone 5 1 4-7 17, Wood 0 0 0-0 0, Arnold 1 0 3-5 5, Hamburg 0 0 0-0 0, Kelly 1 0 0-0 2, Wimberly 1 0 1-2 3, Freind 0 0 0-0 0, Moore 0 0 0-0 0, Shaffer 3 4 5-6 23, Parrish 0 0 4-5 4, Haines 1 0 0-0 2.
2FG-12, 3FG-5, FT-17-25, PF-15..

Fouled Out – Griffith - Waltonville.
Technical Fouls – None.

The Runnin' Lions took home the fifth place honors with the win over the Silver Stallions.

Juniors Brendan Potter and Connor Brach scored 21 and 20 respectively in the victory for head coach Kevin Bowen.

Cisne is now 10-8 on the season with the victory while Christ Our Rock Lutheran is now 8-16 overall with the defeat.

Coach Steve Britt got 15 points from 6-foot junior Colin Ramsour and 10 points from junior guard Sam Britt.

Fifth Place

Christ Our Rock Lutheran (39) – Offut 2 1 1-2 8, Britt 5 0 0-0 10, Z. Wuebbles 0 1 0-0 3, Reynolds 0 0 0-0 0, Peltes 0 0 0-0 0, Jackson 1 0 0-0 2, Ramsour 3 1 6-8 15, Johnston 0 0 1-2 1, Lueking 0 0 0-0 0, R. Wuebbels 0 0 0-0 0. 2FG-11, 3FG-3, FT-8-12, PF-12.
Cisne (54) – Milner 1 0 3-4 5, Hatcher 1 0 1-2 3, Fetherling 1 1 0-2 5, Brach 8 0 4-5 20, Potter 6 3 0-2 21, Roberts 0 0 0-0 0, Martinez 0 0 0-0 0, Harris 0 0 0-0 0, Nettleton 0 0 0-0 0.
2FG-17, 3FG-4, FT-8-15, PF-11.

Fouled Out – None.
Technical Fouls – None.