NEW MADISON – Saturday evening’s championship game of the Bill Burkett Tournament opened as an in-your-face, nose-to-nose contest that neither the Lady Trojans of Arcanum or the Lady Patriots of Tri-Village wanted to be the first to blink.
Tri-Village finally assumed command of the game in the third quarter, propelling the Patriots to a hard-fought 48-35 victory.
Sticky, aggressive man-to-man defense was employed by both teams to start the game. Its effectiveness was demonstrated by the limited scoring in the first half.
Tri-Village’s offensive highlight came in a seven-point spurt that gave the Lady Patriots a 9-3 advantage late in the first quarter, and the shining moment for Arcanum offensively came in a five-point run to close out the half to pull the Lady Trojans to within two at 14-12.
“In the first half people were wondering why the paid money to watch as both teams struggled to score the ball,” Tri-Village girls basketball coach Brad Gray said.
Early on in the third quarter the struggle continued. The Lady Trojans scored on a fast-break opportunity to tie the game at 14, but then the Lady Patriots seized control. They closed out the period on an 18-7 scoring wave that gave them a 32-21 lead after three stanzas.
“Girls came out and executed the game plan,” Arcanum coach Matt Grote said. “Told the girls at halftime that someone was going to make a run in the second half and someone would have to counter it. They made the run and we stopped it, but we couldn’t counter it.”
Coach Gray added, “We found matchup advantages in the second half. The big adjustment was putting Allie (Downing) on the block, not settling for so many jump shots … Talked at halftime about trying to get some easy ones, getting her on the post and using our advantage.
“Huge difference all game long was our ability to defend in half-court,” Gray said. “Really did an unbelievable job defensively. Played game plan to a tee. Give all the credit to the kids.”
Downing paced the Lady Patriots with 15 points while Rachel Miller and Danika Mann contributed 10 and nine. Arcanum was led by Stevie Johnting’s 10 with McKenzie Sharritts adding nine and Gracie Garno eight.
For Tri-Village it was their seventh consecutive championship of the Burkett Tournament. The steak extends back to the 2010-11 season.
The 2016-17 Bill Burkett all-tournament team was: Allie Downing/Tri-Village- tournament MVP, Stevie Johnting/Arcanum, Rachel Miller/Tri-Village, Danika Mann/Tri-Village, Corina Conley/Franklin Monroe and Gracie Garno/Arcanum.