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Published: Sunday, 3/11/2012

Generals run down by Truckers

Anthony Wayne's hope for 1st district title ends

BY DONALD EMMONS
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

BOWLING GREEN -- Anthony Wayne never got on track during Saturday's Division I boys basketball district final against Norwalk.

It led to a disappointing result for the Generals, who fell 52-38 to the 11th-ranked Truckers before an enthusiastic crowd at Bowling Green State University's Stroh Center.

The Generals -- making their first appearance in a district final -- committed 15 turnovers and shot 31 percent (13 of 42) from the field against the Truckers (23-0).

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Reed Allen paced AW (16-7) with a game-high 17 points, including two 3-pointers. Mark Donnal, the 6-foot-9 junior and University of Michigan commitment, finished with 10 points and a team-high seven rebounds.

Norwalk will play Whitmer (21-2) on Wednesday night in a regional semifinal at the University of Toledo's Savage Arena.

The Generals' hopes of making more history by winning the school's first district championship came up short.

"There are some guys really hurting in the locker room right now," AW first-year coach Bryan Borcherdt said. "There are some guys in the locker room who wanted to take that next step."

Norwalk simply proved to be too much for an AW team that showed signs early of having a tough time dealing with the Truckers' defensive pressure, as well as the pressure of playing in a district final.

The Generals committed nine of their turnovers in the first half and made just 4 of 17 shots (24 percent) before halftime.

The Generals' troubles extended as they were hit with a technical in the first half for having a player enter the game wearing the wrong jersey number, according to the official scorebook.

AW fell behind by as many as nine points in the second quarter before heading into the locker room down seven.

"Today we had some mishaps and it's important for you in this type of game to avoid them," Borcherdt said.

Jeff Thomas, a 6-4 sophomore shooting guard, poured in 17 points, including a pair of threes, to lead Norwalk. Ben Haraway, a 6-foot sophomore point guard, provided 11 points and dished out a game-high five assists.

Taking a lead into halftime meant plenty for the Truckers' psyche, according to Norwalk coach Steve Gray.

"I think in the second quarter the pressure got to them a little bit and once we got the lead to seven or nine points, I think we got into our comfort zone," Gray said.

The Generals came out in the third quarter and could not pull any closer than within five of the Truckers, who went into the fourth quarter owning a 38-27 lead. AW fell behind by as many as 19 points in the final quarter before both teams eventually pulled their starters.

"They had five guys that could score, so you couldn't let off on anybody," Borcherdt said, of the Truckers, who shot 40 percent (17 of 43) and committed only five turnovers.

Borcherdt added: "They're a good basketball team, and they're 23-0 for a reason."

Nonetheless, AW's coach said the Generals have plenty to be proud of for extending their season into a district final for the first time in team history.

"They made history at AW," Borcherdt said. "They're hurting that they didn't win it [a district final], but no one can take away what they've done this season."

Contact Donald Emmons at: demmons@theblade.com, 419-724-6302 or on Twitter @DemmonsBlade.



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