TIPP CITY – The Tri-Village Lady Patriots nearly overcame some major obstacles during their match-up with Jackson Center and had a chance to tie the game late … but ended up falling 48-43 in their bid to win a district title.
To say Tri-Village got off to a slow start would be an understatement. Trailing 4-0 the Patriots finally got on the scoreboard on a triple by Rachel Miller at the 3:30 mark of the first quarter.
Jackson Center answered with a trey. It was immediately followed up by Shelbey Dowler in the corner to make the score 7-6 in favor of the Tigers.
Allie Downing hit the third triple of the quarter for Tri-Village at the buzzer to give the Patriots an 11-9 first quarter lead.
It would be a back-and-forth affair in the second quarter with seven lead changes and three ties. In the end Jackson Center took a 24-23 lead at the half.
Although trailing by one, the Patriots had to feel pretty good, due to the fact they were hampered with foul problems with Downing sitting most of the second quarter with three fouls and just before the half ended Dowler picked up her second and third fouls as well.
“We’ve dealt with foul trouble before … but not with that many kids who are impact players. In the second quarter we had four kids who have logged lots of minutes for us in foul trouble, two kids with three fouls and two kids with two fouls, all basically kind of sitting next to us, and that had an effect,” Tri-Village girls basketball coach Brad Gray said.
Autaum Moore gave the Patriots good minutes in Downing’s absence with four points in the second period to match the four Downing had early on.
In the third quarter Downing scored the first five points for TV to give the Patriots the lead 28-27 before she was whistled for her fourth foul at the 5:30 mark on a flop that stunned the Patriot fans, sending her to the bench one more time.
Tri-Village hunkered down on defense and held the Tigers to just six third quarter points and held a 35-30 lead going into the final stanza.
The start of the fourth quarter by Jackson Center would turn the momentum in its favor with seven unanswered points before Miller hit 1-of-2 free throws and the Patriots trailed 37-36 with five minutes to play.
Jackson Center stayed just a step ahead the remainder of the game either by hitting a big shot or making a free throw, keeping the Tigers a score ahead each time.
Trailing 43-40 late the Patriots had three opportunities with wide open looks from beyond the arch but just couldn’t get one to drop to tie the game, and with time dwindling down they were forced to foul.
The Tigers went 7-for-10 from the line in the final stanza and made big ones down the stretch to put the game on ice with a 48-43 win to advance to the regional tournament.
After the game Jackson Center coach Scott Doseck was proud of what his team accomplished. The Tigers are no strangers to success, boasting nine players on the basketball team that were contributors to their 2015 Division IV state volleyball championship team.
“We knew we were going to have a battle on our hands. Tri-Village has a really good basketball team. Brad has an excellent program and does a good job over at Tri-Village,” Doseck said.
“We knew we would have to play hard and play hard the whole game.
“Keys to the game for us was not letting Downing take over and keeping them from making a lot of 3-pointers, especially No. 5 (Rachel Miller). We watched her make seven against Yellow Springs, and she only had one tonight,” Doseck added.
Coach Gray agreed with the Doseck on Jackson Center’s defense taking away some of the things the Patriots like to do.
“I thought Jackson Center played really well. They guarded us much better than I thought they would, and today they were dynamite on that end,” Gray said.
Gray also alluded to the fact that the Patriots were also out of sync for most of the night and that also helped.
“Allie doesn’t get to play a whole lot and yet she still has 16 points and is the leading scorer. That was the frustrating thing for me that in a game like this your best player isn’t allowed to play, and that was a hard thing to swallow sitting over there on the bench.” Gray said.
“I’m not taking anything away from Jackson Center. They played a great game, and that’s a credit to them … but I thought our kids did a good job of persevering. They showed a lot of character in the way they just continued to battle till they end,” Gray said.
“I told them in the locker room you are going to face adversity in life, and there are going to be times things don’t go the way you think they should or you are being treated unfairly. How you respond that is a true testament to the character you have, and I’m extremely proud of they way they handled that today.
“Because of the foul situation we had a lot of kids getting major minutes in a district final game who didn’t get to play a whole lot of varsity minutes this year. Not only did they get out on the floor, they produced. For me as a varsity coach going forward, it shows me we have some things we can build on here,” Gray said.
“It’s tough to look that far ahead because were disappointed because we really thought we had a team that could make a deep run.
“At the same time this is the first team I’ve had here that has won back-to-back league championships in my 10 years here, and I’m proud of that … we won a sectional title, and all that is something to be proud of … but we are used to playing further down the line, and that’s where we want to be.
“It’s our goal to be state champions. That is what fuels us. We’ve come close, but not tasted it yet, and that’s what we are striving to do here,” Gray concluded.
Score by quarters:
TV … 11 … 12 … 12 …08 – 43
JC … 09 … 15 … 06 …18 – 48
Rachel Miller 4, Autaum Moore 6, Emma Printz 3, Allie Downing 16, Shelbey Dowler 8, Danika Mann 6
Totals 5-8-12/22 – 43
Jackson Center (19-7)
Reese 8, P. Meyer 2, Esser 13, C. Meyer 12, Fogt 6, Clark 5, Ware 2
Totals 3-13-13/20 – 48
TV – 5 (Dowler 2, Downing 1, Printz 1, Miller 1)
JC – 3 (C. Meyer 2, Esser 1)