Tri-Village girls basketball claims top spot in WOAC with win at Arcanum


By Drew Terhall

ARCANUM — In the battle of the top two WOAC teams, the Tri-Village Lady Patriots claimed the top spot with a road win over Arcanum, 46-32, on Jan. 4.

The Lady Trojans looked like they had all the momentum in the first quarter after grabbing a 15-8 lead on a buzzer-beater three by senior Ashlyn Miller.

Tri-Village head coach Brad Gray said Arcanum came out and played well while his team was struggled coming off a bad practice the day before. But, the team turned it around quickly.

“Early on, we didn’t match Arcanum’s energy. To our kids credit, I thought the last three quarters we were a really good basketball team. We’re going to look really young. Hopefully, we can win games while we’re looking young. Right now, we’re fortunate enough to be able to do. I think we’re getting better,” Gray said.

Tri-Village opened the second quarter on an 11-2 run capped off by an and one bucket by senior Bella Black on a put back after a missed free throw.

Arcanum junior Alexis Gibbons responded with a three-point make to have the final three minutes of the second quarter go back and forth.

Arcanum head coach Abbey Moore said they knew a Tri-Village run would happen after the first quarter. Once that happened, their big plays were taken away from them. Moore also said the team has to learn to step up when momentum shifts the other way.

The same energy the Lady Trojans started with didn’t carry over for the rest of the game.

“That energy, that adrenaline helped fuel us on the defensive end. Get some deflections and we were able to have the momentum,” Moore said.

Tri-Village had the lead at halftime, 24-21. After a slow start in a big game atmosphere, the Lady Patriots started to take care of the ball better and scored in the paint.

Gray said some of the players were a bit jittery to start the game. He said his more experienced players from last year’s state championship team, Black and sophomores Kynnedi Hager and Sydnee DeLong, were able calm the team down after that first quarter.

“They’re big game experience was maybe a difference tonight. Even though two of those three kids are pretty young, they still played in a lot of big games. I don’t think they were rattled at all by the atmosphere,” Gray said. “We needed somebody to kind of steady that ship.”

Tri-Village slowly started to pull away in the third quarter. Hager had eight points in the third quarter and started to get better looks after wearing down the Arcanum defense.

The rest of the team started to execute in their roles. Gray said freshman Kenna Wilcox did some of the little things that makes this team better as she is getting better after every game. It’s her competitive nature that helps her improve during the season.

“Her competitve drive is at a high level. She’s very vocal. For a freshman, she’s not afraid to say things to some of our older kids. I love that about her,” Gray said.

Her sister, senior Kiersten Wilcox, was able to get a few key buckets and rebounds while being the ultimate teammate. Gray said she is big part of the team as she is a vocal leader and bring the positive energy to the team.

Gray also said they stressed getting out to a 10-point lead in the third quarter as he thought Arcanum would start to press a bit and force some passes or shots.

The Lady Trojans did make some crucial mistakes in the second half that the Lady Patriots took advantage of. Moore said she hoped the defense would help out the offense as they didn’t get much production from that side of the court in the second half.

“We were hoping our defense would be able to give us a few more easier opportunities on offense. In the second half, that just didn’t go our way,” Moore said.

Moore also said the offensive boards from Tri-Village was a big difference. Even when they got the initial stop, the Lady Patriots were able to get the second chance opportunities to drain some clock or put it back up.

Arcanum scored 11 points in the second half. They only made three field goals in the second half as well.

Gibbons led the team with 11 points. Freshman Matty Noe and Miller both had six points.

Moore said she is proud of the team’s effort in this game. They will have to regroup quickly as they have a road game on Jan. 6 at Mississinawa Valley. Moore hopes they can recapture the same energy they had in the first quarter for that one.

“I told them, I said, ‘We got to focus on that fire we had at the beginning of the game and get that back when we hit the floor on Saturday,’,” Moore said.

Hager led Tri-Village with 12 points. Black had nine points and sophomore Tai Mize had eight points.

Tri-Village will be getting a player back as sophomore Adalynn Hines will be able to join the team starting with their game against Ansonia on Jan. 6.

Tri-Village sits alone a top of the WOAC with a 10-1 record and a 5-0 WOAC record. After Ansonia, they will host Dixie on Jan. 11 at 7:15 p.m.

Arcanum is now 8-3 with a 4-1 WOAC record. After Mississinawa Valley, they will host National Trail on Jan. 11 at 6 p.m. and then host Versailles on Jan. 13 starting with the JV at 1 p.m.

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

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