By KEVIN

WANNEMACHER

Sports Writer

ELIDA - Katie Stoller hit a quartet of three-pointers and scored 17 points in all to lead the Wayne Trace Lady Raiders to a 53-28 win over Kalida in the Division IV regional semifinals at the Elida Fieldhouse Thursday night.

With the win, Wayne Trace (22-4) advances to play Minster (18-5) in the regional championship Saturday night at 7:30 for a berth in the Division IV state tournament next weekend.

In Thursday’s game, both teams struggled in the opening eight minutes but two key plays in the final minute of the first quarter turned the momentum in favor of Wayne Trace.

With Wayne Trace on top 7-2, a three-pointer by Katie Stoller widened the Raider lead to 10-2. On the ensuing possession, Rachel Stoller picked off a Kalida pass and scored on a layup in the final seconds of the quarter to give the red, white and blue a 12-2 advantage after one quarter.

It was a deficit the Wildcats never recovered from.

“That little run was big for us,” noted Raider head coach Bethany DeJarnett. “The first quarter saw both teams struggle a little bit but I think but we had some girls step up for us tonight.”

Kalida did pull within 14-7 in the second quarter after two Brooke Vennekotter free throws but a Katrina Stoller trey quickly put Wayne Trace back on top 17-7. The Raiders extended the lead to 21-9 at the intermission on Katie Stoller’s second three-pointer of the contest.

“I thought we did a pretty good job of defending on both Claire (Sinn) and Miriam (Sinn),” commented Wildcat mentor Adam Huber. “But, Katie Stoller stepped up for them and hit some big shots tonight.”

The opening two quarters was a defensive struggle on both ends of the floor. Kalida was held to 3 of 15 shooting while committing 16 turnovers while Wayne Trace was 7 of 20 from the field and had ten miscues.

“We pride ourselves on our defense and I know that Wayne Trace does that as well so we knew it would be tough to score tonight,” Huber added.

Wayne Trace opened the third quarter with a Katrina Stoller basket followed by a Rachel Stoller three-pointer to extend the margin to 26-9. The Raiders maintained that margin for the rest of the period before posting a 38-22 lead entering the final period.

Katie Stoller was the big difference for the Raiders in the third quarter, hitting a pair of three-pointers while adding three free throws in the stanza.

“She had an outstanding game for us tonight,” continued DeJarnett. “We have talked about other girls stepping up for us and she certainly did that.”

Wayne Trace then ended any doubt in the fourth quarter, scoring eight straight points to expand a 41-25 lead to 49-25 on the way to wrapping up the regional championship berth.

“I am so proud of the girls,” concluded DeJarnett. “It was another team effort as we had girls step up and make big plays again tonight.”

Katrina Stoller chipped in nine markers for the Raiders with Rachel Stoller adding eight. Claire Sinn was held to seven markers while Miriam Sinn and Gracie Shepherd both recorded six.

Claire Sinn topped Wayne Trace on the boards with eight while Shepherd picked up seven points and Katrina Stoller finished with six. Miriam Sinn also dished out five assists for the Raiders with Rachel Stoller picking up five steals.

Senior McKayla Maag led the way for Kalida with 11 points and five rebounds in her final game in a Wildcat uniform. Grace Klausing chipped in eight markers and six boards with Brenna Smith bucketing five points and dishing out a pair of assists.