FORT WAYNE – If the Wayne Generals had anyone’s number Friday night, it was hyphenated, and this was it: 21-0.
Oh, and 30.
And don’t forget 18.
And you might want to remember 6, too.
Put all that math together, and the sum total was an 81-72 victory over Bishop Luers that came easy and then didn’t.
We took some ill-advised shots when we had the lead, and that’s kind of been a downfall for us since I’ve been here, really, said Wayne coach Aaron Rehrer, whose team lost a 15-point second-half lead before righting the ship. I don’t have enough panic timeouts. They’ve got to give me some more.
But the numbers came through, in the end.
Up 62-47 with 2:39 to play in the third quarter, the Generals, who led for all but two minutes, watched Austyn Rybicki tie it at 66 to end a 19-4 Luers run with five minutes to play. But then Wayne (7-5, 3-2 SAC) put it back together, outscoring Luers 15-6 the rest of the way – including, yes, the last six points, one of those magic numbers.
And the others?
The 30 represented Levi Mitchell’s game-high point total, which, combined with Justin Mitchell’s 26, did the lion’s share of the offensive damage for Wayne. Eighteen was the number of turnovers the Generals squeezed out of Luers (8-3, 3-2), which compounded that headache by making 23 of 60 shots and a lone 3-pointer. And 21-0 is what the Wayne coaching staff calls the 2-3 zone the Generals went to down the stretch to put the clamps on Rybicki, who led the Luers comeback with 16 second-half points.
We front the post, Rehrer says of 21-0. They were killing us in the post. They did a really good job of high-lowing it and things like that, and we didn’t do a very good job of getting around it. So we mixed it up a little bit and made them shoot from the outside a little bit more and finally got some rebounds.
The rest belonged to the two Mitchells – especially Levi, who’s been struggling with his shooting lately but found the rhythm Friday.
We have more than one player than can do it offensively, so we try to (move) the ball and find the hot man, Mitchell said. For tonight, it was me. I just hit my shots tonight and everything fell into place.
A pleasant turn of events for Wayne, which is one of three teams tied for second in the SAC.
For him it’s more a confidence thing, Rehrer said of Mitchell. Get your feet set and follow through, and he stepped up really big for us tonight and made some plays.
As did others.
We made some big plays down the stretch, and we had some kids step up, Rehrer said. We had a kind of different lineup tonight, mixed some things up, and we got some stops when we needed to and that was the key for us.