Wayne's SAC title celebrates entire school

February 25, 2023

As the student section poured on to the basketball court at Wayne High School on February 17, the pure elation of what the Generals boys basketball team had just done sent the fans into a frenzy.

Wayne had just knocked off Concordia, 55-51; and the Generals were Summit Athletic Conference for the first time in 23 years.

“It’s something that the community hasn’t had in a very long time. It changes the culture of everything. Not just the basketball team; but the school, the students, and other sports,” head coach Byron Pickens says. “To be able to do it in front of the people who love us made it just that more special.”

Wayne’s return to the top of the Summit did not happen overnight. The Generals finished with losing records in each of Pickens’ first three seasons, including a 4-18 mark a year ago.

wayne 2023
Wayne Generals celebrate their first SAC championship since 2000 on Friday, February 17 (photo courtesy Wayne L.I.F.T)

“We had the mindset this summer that we wanted to win” senior forward Jay Eldridge says. “We had to be serious and take everything home for Wayne High School.”

Wayne’s season has been promising out of the gate. The Generals racked up an 8-1 start that included an overtime win over Carroll and victories over Fairfield and Michigan City Marquette Catholic at the inaugural PSM Holiday Shootout.

Wayne suffered a setback to start the new year: losses to North Side, Indianapolis Arsenal Tech and 3A juggernaut Norwell.

wayne 2000
Wayne's last SAC championship was 2000, sharing the title with Concordia & South Side. The Generals were led by Mike Corely that season (photo courtesy Wayne Sentry yearbook)

But the Generals regrouped, winning their last nine games of the regular season. They knocked off 2A #2 Blackhawk Christian at home, clipped Homestead in overtime on the road, and held off Concordia to give them their first outright conference title since 1976.

“We’ve always had talent. We have a good team. We’re just showing what we’ve always had,” senior guard Marquis Douglas adds.

Wayne heads into postseason play averaging 64.9 points per game. Guard Jevon Lewis, Jr. has seen a breakout season with 16.3 points, 6.7 assists and 2.1 steals per game. Chase Barnes averages 13.6 points. Douglas, HJ Dillard, and Preston Comer are all shooting better than 60% from the field.

wayne 1976
The last time Wayne won the SAC championship outright was 1976. That team, led by Roosevelt Barnes and Al Gooden, won Wayne's first conference title, first sectional title and the inaugural SAC Holiday Tourament title that season. (photo courtesy Wayne Sentry yearbook)

The Generals take that talent and high-powered offense into a strong 4A Columbia City Sectional 6. They play New Haven on Tuesday night in the first round. Homestead, Columbia City, Huntington North and South Side round out the sectional field. The Generals' last sectional title came in 1994. 

“Everybody can do everything. Everybody plays their position well. And everybody plays their roles,” senior guard Marquette Lee says. “We want to cut down nets as a team. We talk about it all the time.”

Wayne is one of 31 high schools that partner with Parkview Sports Medicine for athletic training, nutrition sports performance training, athletic rehab and other sports medicine services for General student-athletes. Learn more at www.parkviewsportsmedicine.com.

Ortho Express Walk-in Clinic

Learn more about same-day orthopedic and sports injury care at SportsONE / Parkview Fieldhouse. Learn More

PSM Performance Edge Program

Personalized training to help take your game to the next level. Learn more.
Get Started