By KEVIN WANNEMACHER

Sports Writer

HAVILAND - With the No. 2 ranked team visiting the Palace Saturday night, Wayne Trace’s boys basketball team knew it faced a big challenge when Crestview came to the home of the Raiders.

However, the red-white-and-blue battled right with the Knights for three quarters before Crestview pulled away in the final period for a 53-40 win over the Raiders.

Despite the loss, Raider head coach Jim Linder had a lot to be proud of in the way the Raiders battled for 32 minutes.

“This is one of those where it is a loss but I am very proud of the way we played tonight,” commented the Raider mentor. “We gave them a good battle and that is a good basketball team over there. We can take some things out of this that we did well but we also need to get better in some areas too.”

Leading 38-36 at the end of three periods, Crestview used a quick 3-pointer by Kalen Etzler and a basket from Drew Kline to push the margin to 43-36.

From there, the Raiders never recovered.

After a basket by Wayne Trace’s Josiah Linder, consecutive 3-pointers by Javin Etzler and Derick Dealey extended the lead to 49-38 and the Knights cruised from there.

For three periods, it was a tight game between a pair of “friendly” rivals.

Wayne Trace jumped out first, opening a 9-3 lead in the first quarter before the Knights came storming back.

A trey by Colton Lautzenheiser and a basket from Wade Sheets trimmed the Knight deficit to 9-8 but a Jace Vining basket put Wayne Trace on top 11-9.

However, the Knights responded with two Sheets free throws and a Brant Richardson bucket for a 13-11 advantage.

The Raiders then got a Trae Sinn basket just before the quarter break to knot the game at 13-13 at the end of eight minutes of action.

“We battled,” commented Raider head coach Jim Linder. “I am very proud of the effort we got out of our kids and there are a lot of positives we can take out of this.”

Trailing 19-17 in the second quarter, the Knights closed the first half with seven straight points.

Javin Etzler hit a pair free throws in the run with Lautzenheiser converting a 3-point play as Crestview took a 22-19 lead. The Knights then finished off the half with a Javin Etzler basket to put the visitors on top 24-19 at the break.

Wayne Trace made its final run in the third quarter.

With the Knights on top 29-21, a 3-point play from Vining and a basket by Nate Gerber trimmed the Raider deficit to 29-26.

Following a 3-pointer by Sheets, a pair of Linder treys helped to get the Raiders within 32-30.

After the two teams traded 3-pointers, Linder added a pair of free throws and Vining hit one of two to get Wayne Trace within 38-36 at the end of three periods.

Javin Etzler led the Knights in the contest with 14 points with Kaden Etzler and Dealey both recording nine.

Josiah Linder topped Wayne Trace with 17 points and 10 rebounds while Reid Miller and Jace Vining both posted six for the Raiders, who fall to 14-5 on the season. Miller added four assists as well with Vining recording three rebounds and two assists.

Nate Gerber chipped in five markers while Alex Reinhart posted four points and six boards. Trae Sinn finished with two points, two assists and three rebounds.

Wayne Trace’s junior varsity improved to 16-3 on the season with a 44-32 win over the Knights.

Trevor Sinn led the way for the Raiders with 18 points and three steals while Cameron Sinn recorded nine points and six rebounds. Grayson McClure also scored nine markers and added two rebounds, three assists and two steals.

Nate Crosby bucketed four points and hauled down six rebounds with Carter Baksa getting two points and two boards. Trevor Speice finished with two points and four rebounds.

Brody Brecht and Carson Kreischer each bucketed nine for Crestview.