The Wayne Generals keep grinding and gutting out victory after victory.
Coach Aaron Rehrer's team overcame a significant size disadvantage and foul trouble with its top player on Friday to knock off North Side for the second time in nine days in a 68-65 overtime win.
Wayne improves to 7-2 on the season with the victory and 2-1 in the Summit Athletic Conference.
“I said it before that (North Side) is a really talented team,” Rehrer said. “Our kids just don't want to lose.”
As has been the case in many of Wayne's triumphs so far this season, this one went down to the wire as six of the Generals' seven victories have come by six points or less.
Wayne trailed by two in the first minute of overtime before scoring five straight points to retake the lead for the final time. North Side (5-5, 1-2 SAC) would cut the lead to one twice, but each time the Generals had an answer.
With just over a minute left in overtime, it was a bucket by Levi Mitchell that bumped the lead back to three. Just over 30 seconds later, Kye Black hit a layup that gave the Generals a three-point cushion again.
The Redskins called timeout with less than 30 seconds remaining and down three to set up a play. Dwight Richards, who led North Side in scoring on the night with 23, threw up a three-pointer with 10 seconds left that was short.
Wayne pulled out the win despite junior Justin Mitchell saddled with four fouls late in the fourth quarter and all of overtime. With the officials calling a very tight game, it seemed to be only a matter of time before he fouled out. But Rehrer continued to sub in for him on defensive possessions, and Mitchell survived to finish with a game-high 25 points.
“We have other kids who step up, but that is one of the top juniors in the state,” Rehrer said about Justin Mitchell. “Without him, I think we probably would have deflated a little bit (late in the game).
“We are a lot more confident with No. 1 (Mitchell) out there on the court. As hard as he plays, it helps some other kids step up and play hard.”
North Side also dominated the glass, finishing with nearly double the amount of rebounds of Wayne. But the Generals, who sometimes had five guards on the floor at one time, stood their ground inside and did not give up anything easy.
The Redskins played without starting guard Sean McGee, who was sitting out a mandatory one-game suspension after being ejected from last week's game against the Generals.
In the end, it was a typical Wayne victory. Not flashy, not overly impressive, but another notch in the win column.
“We didn't get all the rebounds but we really tried to box out and when the ball would go on the floor we went after it,” Rehrer said. “That's kind of how we are trying to build out program, through hard work.
“So far, it is working for us.”
WAYNE 68, NORTH SIDE 65, OT
Wayne 18 10 11 20 9 - 68
North Side 10 20 9 20 6-65
Wayne: Justin Mitchell 25, Fincher 8, Levi Mitchell 16, Black 5, Jescus Mitchell 7, Smiley 5.
North Side: Davis 15, Jeremy Jones 4, Richards 23, Sutton 2, Nygel Jones 8, Crews 13.