NEW MADISON – For the first time in the three-year history of the Patriot Holiday Classic host Tri-Village suffered a loss as the Patriots fell 54-53 to Jefferson Township in Tuesday’s semifinals.
Tri-Village, which was missing four of its usual starters due to a hazing investigation involving the program, started slow in Tuesday’s game. It took the Patriots almost four minutes to score with Jonny Wilson breaking the drought with a pair of free throws.
With Tri-Village’s slow start Jefferson was able to build an early 8-2 lead, but Tri-Village finished the quarter strong. Led by Wilson and Noah Burns, the Patriots cut the Bronco advantage to a single point, 12-11, by the end of the opening period.
Derek Eyer drained a 3-pointer a minute into the second quarter, giving Tri-Village its first lead of the game. Christian Ricker also came up big for the Patriots with 6 points in the second quarter, but it wasn’t quite enough as the Broncos took a 27-25 lead into the halftime break.
Wilson, Tri-Village’s only usual starter who played Tuesday, continued to lead his team with 7 points in the third quarter. Jefferson kept inching forward, though, and increased its lead to 3 points, 40-37.
Throughout the entire fourth quarter neither team was able to build more than a 3-point lead.
With a Wilson 3-pointer and a field goal by Burns, Tri-Village gained a 1-point lead early in the period. After surrendering the lead again, Tri-Village regained it once more and went up by 3, 51-48, with just over a minute remaining.
Jefferson kept its composure and hit a field goal to make it a 1-point game. Then after Tri-Village was called for an offensive foul on an inbound attempt, Jefferson drained another shot to go up by 1, 52-51, with 40 seconds left.
Wilson put Tri-Village up again less than 20 seconds later with a pair of free throws, but Jefferson regained the lead just seven seconds later on a basket with Jawaun Simon-Smith.
Trailing 54-53 with 15.4 seconds remaining, Tri-Village tried to set up a winning shot but the ball handler stepped out of bounds, giving Jefferson the ball with 4.2 seconds remaining.
After a Tri-Village foul, Jefferson missed the front end of a one-and-one free throw opportunity to give Tri-Village one final shot. However, the Patriots’ desperation heave fell short, and the Broncos held on for the 54-53 win.
Wilson led Tri-Village with a game-high 27 points on Tuesday. Also for the Patriots, Burns scored 13 points, Ricker scored 10, and Eyer scored 3.
Simon-Smith led Jefferson with 15 points. Also for the Broncos, Issac Guy scored 14 points, Caleb Drake scored 11, Jevon Sterling scored 8, Rashawn Hawkins scored 2, Thomas Herron scored 2, and Joe White scored 2.
With the win Jefferson advanced to the championship game of the Patriot Holiday Classic to face Mariemont, who beat Eaton 49-47 in overtime in Tuesday’s first semifinal. Tri-Village moved on to the consolation game against Eaton.
After starting the season 3-0, Tri-Village dropped to 3-3 with Tuesday’s loss.
Kyle Shaner may be reached at 937-569-4316. Follow me on Twitter @KShanerAdvocate or get updates on Facebook by searching Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com.