BROOKVILLE – Leading by just 2 points heading into the final quarter Tri-Village made some big plays early and then put the game away at the free throw line, going 10-for-11 late, to claim a sectional title, defeating Newton 58-41.
Tri-Village came out firing in Saturday’s sectional championship game with Emma Printz connecting on triples from both corners, and with Newton trailing by 10 points midway in the first quarter Coach Steve Fisher needed a timeout.
The Lady Indians responded behind point guard Tatum McBride firing in a triple that was duplicated moments later by Elizabeth Carroll as Newton climbed back into the game, trailing 16-12.
Newton wasn’t satisfied and continued playing inspired basketball, tying the game at 18 then taking the lead on a fielder by Aliya Stine followed by the harm and the foul from McBride that put the Indians up by 5, 23-18, at 3:24 to play in the second quarter.
Tri-Village had been held scoreless for nearly five minutes before answering the 11-point run by Newton.
The answer couldn’t have been more dramatic as Allie Downing zipped a pass to the left block to Danika Mann, who squared up and finished at the rim to cut the Newton momentum while also achieving a huge milestone – scoring here 1,000th career point as a Lady Patriot.
Tri-Village Coach Brad Gray then called a 30 second timeout, which was enough time to recognize Mann by giving her the basketball; she ran over gave the ball to her Mom and after a few quick hugs the game would go on.
Freshman Lisa Siler tied the game on a triple at 23, and Mann scored one more time to help keep the Patriots close but still trailing 26-25 at the break.
Offensively the Patriots continued to struggle hitting outside shots in the third quarter as Newton ran shooters off the line with a high hand in the face.
Senior Rachel Miller helped the Patriots regain the lead, 36-34, with a couple of free throws and a trey to end the third period.
In the final stanza, it was a combination of things that swung the gate open for Tri-Village.
The 2-1-2 extended zone was starting to frustrate Newton as it kept McBride from penetrating and out on the perimeter. She was held scoreless in the final period.
The Patriots’ defense was in the passing lanes and their active hands started to result in turnovers that led to a few breakout scores.
Printz left-handed layup put the PATS up 40-34, and then the Patriots spread the floor to try and open the zone or get the Indians to go man-to-man.
With the zone extended and Trisa Porter playing the high post it would be all the Patriots needed to pick apart Newton the rest of the way.
Porter’s decision making in drawing defenders and then finding the open player was spot on as Downing and Mann finished at the rim.
Downing scored 6 and Mann 5 in the final stanza as they widened the lead, and from there it was all a matter of taking care of business at the free throw line.
Tri-Village went 14-for-16 for the game and 10-for-11 down the stretch to win it going away, 58-41.
Mann finished with a game-high 17 points, Printz had 14, Miller 11 and Downing 10 for the Patriots, and McBride led Newton with 12 points.
For anyone who didn’t attend the game and saw the final score the may not realize that this was a tough game and was still in question going into the fourth quarter.
“We’ve been a struggling basketball team lately, but we found ourselves in the fourth quarter,” Tri-Village coach Brad Gray said. “Our kids really settled down and played the way we are capable of playing.”
Coach Gray was more than complimentary of play of Porter late in the game.
“What a passer, what a passer … for a freshman she calmed us down in the fourth quarter,” Gray said. “Played really poised and composed from the high post area, which is tough for some kids to do because of the high traffic around you. The girl can pass the basketball … but it was her poise, composure and calming influence she had on our basketball team that was big and that speaks volumes for a freshman player.”
It was Printz who got the Patriots rolling early and then later as indicated by Gray.
“The game was played fairly fast, which really surprised me,” Gray said. “The last time we played it was a slower pace. This is more our style, and the type of game Emma Printz thrives. She made some big plays, hit some big shots early, then some buckets late off the break … but it’s her activity on defense flying around, anticipating and getting her hands on the ball, and disrupting the other teams flow. It all had a major impact on the game in the second half.”
On Mann reaching 1,000 points, Gray said:
“It’s an elite club, and what that means is Danika has had a really good four-year career here and has been very solid and steady. The amazing thing is this year she has averaged right around 16 points a game. It’s been her best offensive year, so what that means is she has been very steady over the years – 12 points per game, 13 points per game and now 16 points per game, which means we have always been able to count on her night in and night over her career with many of those games being double-doubles, and I’m happy for her because I know that meant a lot to her.
“The excitement in the locker right now is more than we’ve had in a while and sometimes we get a little stale … but we just won a sectional title, and I told the girls that’s never easy, and it’s nothing we should take for granted.
“I think today they had some fun and maybe we got some weight off our shoulders. I hope we can keep that mindset going forward,” Gray concluded.
Tri-Village improved to 23-1 and up next is a match-up with Cedarville at 3 p.m. Saturday at Troy High School with a district title on the line.
Score by quarters:
Newton … 12 … 13 … 08 … 07 – 41
Tri-Village 16 … 09 … 11 … 22 – 58
McBride 12, Flanary 6, Carroll 6, Kessler 3, Stine 2 Oburn 5, Wolf 7
Totals – 4-13-3/6 – 41
Miller 11, Printz 14, Porter 3, Downing 10, Siler 3, Mann 17
Totals – 4-16-14/16 – 58
NEW – 4 (Carroll 2, Kessler, McBride)
TV – 4 (Printz 2, Miller, Siler)