By Drew Terhall
NEW MADISON — The Tri-Village High School girls basketball team finishes the regular season undefeated with a 22-0 record and claimed an outright WOAC title with a 71-36 win over Preble Shawnee on Feb. 2. This is the first time in school history the Lady Patriots finish the regular season undefeated.
Head coach Brad Gray said he was impressed with the team’s start to the game. Tri-Village ran out to a 14-0 lead before Preble Shawnee called a timeout. He said he was worried about the game all week, but his team reassured all week they were going to be fine.
“What a performance by our kids tonight. That was not expected. We have a ton of respect for Preble Shawnee and the kind of year they had. To win this game by 35 points, I thought the way we came out of the gate tonight was extremely impressive,” Gray said.
After the first quarter, the Lady Patriots were up 23-7. Preble Shawnee did all they could to try and contain Tri-Village’s leading scorer senior Rylee Sagester. They had a defender right on her hip right when Tri-Village had the ball. It was a solo full court press to not let Sagester touch the ball.
Sagester managed to score six points in the first quarter. Senior Morgan Hunt had 10 points in the opening quarter. When the second quarter started, senior Torie Richards started to get going. She had 11 points in the second quarter with three three-point shots made.
Tri-Village had an answer for the Preble Shawnee defense. They shared the basketball and didn’t force anything. The Lady Patriots stayed patient and worked to get a good shot off.
“The ball was never sticky tonight. We didn’t have anybody over-dribbling or taking selfish shots. I thought we were looking for our teammates to get the best shot every possession,” Gray said.
At halftime, Tri-Village was up 46-23. Gray said the message at halftime to the team was to not let Preble Shawnee come out and chip away at their lead. He did not want to let the Lady Arrows get any momentum at the beginning of the second half.
The Lady Patriots continued to run the floor and use their defense to generate quick offense. They continued to outscore Preble Shawnee in each quarter and retained momentum throughout the second half.
The seniors on Tri-Village were able to go out on top in their last home game of their careers. Hunt led in scoring with 21 points. Sagester finished the game with 19 points and Richards finished with 13.
Gray said ever since these seniors were young, they have always been great players who weren’t scared of the big moments.
“They’ve always been gamers, they’ve always been big game kids. They always rise to the occasion,” Gray said.
In their last season at Tri-Village, Gray said they have been leaders in helping develop the younger players on the team. Freshman Sydnee DeLong starts and freshman Kynnedi Hager plays a lot of minutes coming off the bench. Hager had 10 points in this game.
He also said the seniors have been great in letting them develop and trusting them in big moments. It is like they are paying it forward to the program and help the team sustain their recent success.
Tri-Village will now wait until Feb. 15 to play their first postseason game against Yellow Springs at Versailles High School at 5 p.m. Gray said the team will enter the postseason with a new season mentality. Every team is now 0-0 and will look to go 1-0 after each round.
Contact Daily Advocate sports editor Drew Terhall at [email protected]