Lady Patriots are state bound with close win over Fort Loramie


By Drew Terhall

VANDALIA — The Tri-Village High School girls basketball team are now Division IV Southwest Regional champions after defeating Fort Loramie 32-30 at Butler High School on Mar. 4.

These two programs have met each other often in the playoffs. They most recently played against each other in the 2021 Regional final. Fort Loramie has been on a years long winning streak against the Lady Patriots, but Tri-Village got the best of them this time.

“They have a great program. They’re playing a lot of young kids, they’re going to be a headache for everybody in Division IV next year. For us it wasn’t about beating Fort Loramie, it’s about winning the Regional finals and let’s get another opportunity for the State final four. It’s been a long time since we’ve gotten there,” Head coach Brad Gray said.

It was a close game throughout. At halftime, Tri-Village had a 16-13 lead with both teams having momentum at some point during the first half.

The momentum didn’t translate to much offensive success. Both teams were forcing turnovers, bad passes and both teams couldn’t make open shots at times.

The Lady Patriots were comfortable playing in their zone defense and forced Fort Loramie to make their jump shots. Fort Loramie was able to put pressure on the ball constantly and forced Tri-Village to make errand passes.

It was the seniors from Tri-Village that helped get their team the win. Senior Morgan Hunt was a force on defense. Playing in the paint, she racked up block after block and didn’t allow Fort Loramie any free baskets inside the paint.

Senior Torie Richards not only played great defense in the game, she also scored a few timely points to keep the Patriots ahead. Whenever the momentum shifted towards Fort Loramie, Richards was able to make a basket to calm down the Fort Loramie crowd.

Senior Rylee Sagester was relatively quiet during the first three quarters and didn’t force a lot of shots up. Late in the fourth quarter, Sagester stepped all the way back away from the three-point line to get enough room to fire off some threes. She made two threes to give Tri-Village a 31-25 lead with just under three minutes left.

“In games like this, you need your best players to be your best players. I think our seniors accounted for all but one of our points. That’s what we needed all of them to do. They made plays when we needed it,” Gray said.

Gray also said the rest of the team played their roles well and contributed to the win. With the Lady Patriots up 31-30 with 43.8 seconds left, they needed to sink some free throws to ice the game.

Freshman Kynnedi Hager went to the free throw line to try and extend their lead. On her first trip to the line, she missed the first one. Then on her second trip, she was able to make one free throw to force Fort Loramie into a last second half-court heave to win the game.

“She’s an 84% free throw shooter coming into today. Normally, she’s money from the line. That’s a really big moment to put a kid that hasn’t been in these moments into. The first one was some nerves. The front end of the next one, she was able to knock it down,” Gray said.

The last second attempt by Fort Loramie was close but just like most shots during the game, it bounced around and out.

Sagester finished the game with 17 points and four made three-point shots. Richards had eight points and Hunt had six. Hager had the one free throw make to add to the team score.

Gray said the team will need to execute better on offense after the performances they had against great defenses in the Regional games. While he did give credit to Marion Local and Fort Loramie for their defensive execution against them, Gray believes his team is better offensively than what they showed.

The Lady Patriots will take on the winner of Berlin Hiland and Portsmouth Notre Dame on Mar. 9 at the University of Dayton Arena with tipoff set for 8 p.m.

Contact Daily Advocate sports editor Drew Terhall at [email protected]

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