TROY – Tri-Village held Russia to just 2 points in the third quarter to go ahead 39-30 and went on to a 53-42 win over the Raiders to claim the Ohio High School Athletic Association Division IV district championship and advance to the regional semifinals.
Tri-Village and Russia met once already this year back on Jan. 22 where the Patriots handed the Raiders a 49-22 loss.
The Raiders didn’t let that outcome bother them at all as they raced out to an early 11-5 lead over the Patriots, knocking down shots from the perimeter and inside.
Defensively Russia’s Laurissa Poling was making life miserable inside for TV, blocking shots and rebounding the misses to help fuel the early lead.
The Patriots kept battling with Trisa Porter scoring 7 points and Lissa Siler and Peyton Bietry both scored 2 points each to pull the PATS within 4, trailing 15-11 at the end of the first quarter.
“I give them (Russia) a lot of credit. We held them to 22 points the first time we played, and I looked up at the scoreboard at the end of the first quarter and they already had 15 points,” Tri-Village girls basketball coach Brad Gray said.
“They didn’t hit shots the first time we played them, and I didn’t think they would be capable coming in here in this environment and make shots when they didn’t hit them back in their own gym. That’s a credit to them and their coaching staff who put them in great positions to make shots. I don’t think we played bad defensively; it’s just a credit to them,” Gray said.
The Patriots trailed 21-14 at the five-minute mark of the second quarter, and Gray needed a timeout to regroup his squad.
“We used the timeout to talk about how we needed to adjust our defense. We couldn’t sag as much as we had and needed to be a little tougher getting out on the perimeter. My biggest disappointment is we didn’t rebound the ball well. That’s something we did really well the first time we played. But from that point on I thought we rebounded the ball well and played solid on defense,” Gray said.
The Patriots then went on a 14-7 run spearheaded by Siler, who got hot and dropped in three triples and a fielder to tie the game at 28-28 at the break.
Porter and Siler both had 11 points each in the first half.
Tri-Village’s defense was on another level in the third quarter, holding Russia to just 2 points while also generating offense off turnovers as Emma Printz took advantage and scored 7 points in the period. Tri-Village had jumped on top 39-30 at the end of the third quarter.
“Our defense was really good in the second half, not so much that we were overly aggressive we just played smart,” Gray said.
“Their big girl Poling is so good inside, and Maddie Downing is the only girls we have with size so we have to bring help to try and slow her down. Early in the game they made us pay when we didn’t rotate well and hit outside shots. But once our kids recognized it, and we got our rotations down, we started handling it better, and I thought it was the difference for us in the game,” Gray added.
Tri-Village increased its lead to 50-34 midway through the final stanza and from there it was just a matter of taking care of the basketball and making some free throws down the stretch.
Russia never gave up, throwing in some full-court pressure that generated some turnovers, but the lead was just too much to overcome as Tri-Village rolled to a 53-42 win.
Tri-Village was led by Siler with 20 points, Porter had 16 points and 3 assists, Printz had 11 points and 3 steals, and Andi Bietry dished five dimes in the game.
Coach Gray was pretty happy for his young squad that starts four sophomores and a junior and was quick to point out it was a nice pleasant surprise winning the district title this year.
“At the beginning of the year if you would have told me we would be getting to play in a regional semifinal game this Thursday night – not that I wouldn’t have believed it – but I sure would have taken it at that time,” Gray said. “We weren’t real sure what we had going into the off season with this group because we were so young. To these kids credit they’ve battled all year long. We went through some tough stretches, had some growing pains and a really tough schedule. Our non-conference schedule was as tough this year as it ever has been, and I think that has really helped us up to this point.
“It’s been a lot of fun. The thing that is so much fun about this group of kids is they share the ball so unselfishly, more so than any other team I’ve had. There never was a time a kid who doesn’t score the ball well is upset that she’s not scoring,” Gray said. “Madding Downing is a perfect example; she didn’t have a great game today … but she was still a presence for us and was completely content with other kids making plays and just happy to win the game. That is the way all these kids are, and it’s just so much fun to coach a group like this.”
Gray will have the opportunity to coach his group at least one more time as they will play at 6:15 p.m. Thursday at Vandalia High School where they will take on Minster.
Score by quarters
TV … 11 … 17 … 11 … 14 – 53
RU … 15 … 13 … 02 … 12 – 42
Tri-Village – Emma Printz 11, Trisa Porter 16, Andi Bietry 1, Lissa Siler 20, Maddie Downing 3, Peyton Bietry 2; Totals 8-11-7/10 – 53
Russia – Jenna Cordonnier 12, Laurissa Poling 8, Shea Borchers 6, Cameo Wilson 4, Whitney Pleiman 3, Ashley Scott 9; Totals 3-15-3/6 – 42