Black’s two made free throws push Lady Patriots past Lady Blackhawks


By Drew Terhall

NEW MADISON — Already early in the season, this game could have some implications on the WOAC standings come February. The Tri-Village girls basketball team is now 4-0 after coming away with a 60-59 win over Mississinawa Valley at home on Dec. 7. Both teams finished in the top three in the conference last season.

Two free throws made by senior Bella Black gave the Lady Patriots the lead with 15.1 seconds left in the fourth quarter. The defense held off the Lady Blackhawks on their final possession to take the win.

Tri-Village head coach Brad Gray said there will be ups and downs with this team. But, he knows this team will continue to get better as the year goes on and they can still win some big games like this one.

“We’re young, very young. We know we’re going to go through a lot of growing pains with this team. We fully expect it. If we can keep winning games while we’re going through growing pains, that’s a positive thing. This is a team we feel like we’re going to be a lot better come mid-February,” Gray said.

Mississinawa Valley head coach Michael Paige said both teams played well in a good game.

“I think our girls played well. I think Tri-Village played well. I think Tri-Village is a good team, they’re a really good team. I don’t hold anything against the team itself. I think they played great, I think we played great. It was a great game,” Paige said.

Tri-Village threw the first punch as they got out to an 8-3 lead and looked like they were ready to roll through the game. But, Mississinawa Valley fought back to take a 9-8 lead. From there, both teams exchanged blows.

It was tied 31-31 at halftime. Freshman Kenna Wilcox made a three point shot with 11.4 seconds left in the second quarter to tie the game.

The Lady Blackhawks forced some turnovers and converted those to points with their press. At times, the Lady Patriots had some unforced turnovers.

Gray said the team was playing at a faster pace than they should have. He also said the adjustment at halftime was to slow down and beat the press by giving the ball to Black in the open space and let her make a play to get the offense going.

“Early in the game, we were playing uncharacteristically fast. We like to play fast, but when we got the ball past their press we were shooting so quick. I couldn’t even get into a set. We’re trying to get into something and we’re already trying to shoot a shot,” Gray said. “Second half, we were much better. That’s why you saw Bella and Kynnedi have the halves they had in the second half. We were able to establish them inside a little more.”

Both teams keep trading points and struggled to take full control of the game. Tri-Village held a slim 46-44 lead heading into the third quarter.

Sophomore Kynnedi Hager started to take over in the second half. After only having three points on three made free throws in the first half, she scored 14 points in the second half.

For Mississinawa Valley, senior MacKenzea Townsend and junior Taylee Woodbury both made baskets to help keep close with the Patriots late.

With 55.3 seconds left in the fourth, Townsend scored to give Mississinawa Valley a 59-58 lead. Then the Lady Patriots went down the court where Black sank two free throws to get the win.

Paige said the free throw shooting was the difference in the game. Tri-Village got to the line 22 times while Mississinawa Valley got to the line 11 times.

Gray said the new foul rule and his team not being in foul trouble helped them in this one. He said his team is a good free throw shooting team and having two guaranteed free throws helps his players relax on the first shot.

Not being in foul trouble early also allowed the Lady Patriots opened them up to play more aggressive late in quarters.

For Mississinawa Valley, Woodbury led the team with 17 points. Townsend had 14 points while sophomore Paige Emrick had nine points with three made threes in the game.

Woodbury is coming off a major injury she suffered at the end of last season. Paige said she will eventually get back to 100% soon.

“She’s playing a little bit better. With her, it’s a mental thing. She’s got to mentally get to the place to where she’s comfortable on that knee again,” Paige said. “Physically, she’s fine. But mentally she’s got to get to a point to where she trusts herself again. But each and every game, she’ll get a little more confidence back.”

For Tri-Village, Black and Hager each had 18 points. Black went 10 for 10 from the free throw line. Wilcox and sophomores Sydnee DeLong and Tai Mize each had eight points.

Mississinawa Valley is now 1-3 on the season. Paige said he’s not worried about the slow start. Gray also said he thinks the Lady Blackhawks will win a lot of games this season and have a good tournament run.

It’s early in the season and a lot still has to be played out.

“We have a team that can still win the rest of our games. We’re playing better each and every game. If we keep getting better and improving on the little things each and every week we will keep winning. I’m not worried about our record, I’m not worried about the schedule. I think everybody will see as the game goes on we’ll see be ready for the tournament,” Paige said.

The Lady Blackhawks will host Coldwater on Dec. 12 at 7:15 p.m. and then head to Franklin Monroe on Dec. 14 for a 6 p.m. start.

After Stivers visits, the Lady Patriots will travel to Tri-County North on Dec. 14 for a 7:15 p.m. start. They will then go to Chaminade Julienne on Dec. 16 for a 1:15 p.m. tipoff.

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

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