NEW MADISON – A very inexperienced Tri-Village team continues to make progress, but it wasn’t enough to record a victory in the Patriot Holiday Classic as the Patriots lost 55-39 to Eaton in Wednesday’s consolation game.
Tri-Village, still dealing with suspensions as a result of a hazing investigation into the team, struggled to keep up with Eaton on Wednesday. Coach Josh Sagester said he was proud of how his players, most of who began the year playing junior varsity ball, have handled themselves the past two weeks despite the results not showing on the scoreboard.
“I’m real proud of them,” the Tri-Village boys basketball coach said. “I think they’re playing really, really hard. They’ve been thrown into a tough situation. I think they’ve handled themselves really well. It’s been a really good experience for them. They know what they need to work on individually. I’m proud of them.”
Tri-Village played from behind throughout Wednesday’s game as Eaton started the night on a 10-0 run. After a Patriot timeout Tri-Village was able to regroup and get on the scoreboard four-and-half minutes into the game with a Noah Burns 3-pointer.
Jonny Wilson, the only usual Tri-Village starter who played on Wednesday, also drained a 3-pointer in the first quarter, but the Patriots found themselves trailing the Eagles 18-6 through the first eight minutes.
Eaton extended its lead to 17 points early in the second quarter before Tri-Village got going again. The Patriots responded with a 9-3 run with points from Burns, Derek Eyer, Wilson and Christian Ricker to prevent Eaton from running away with the game but still trailed 28-15 at halftime.
Tri-Village again started slow in the third quarter as Eaton built a 25-point lead, 40-15. By the end of the quarter the Eagles had a 49-24 advantage.
Eaton extended its lead to a game-high 29 points, 53-24, early in the fourth quarter. Tri-Village then went on a 15-2 run to close out the game but came up short on the scoreboard, 55-39.
Burns led Tri-Village with a game-high 16 points. Also for the Patriots, Wilson scored 12 points, Gage Hileman scored 6, Ricker scored 4, and Eyer scored 1.
Jack Stewart led Eaton with 13 points. Also for the Eagles, Trevor Pittman scored 12 points, Danny Howard scored 11, Donnie Nicodemus scored 7, Grant Sullender scored 6, Jack Bieker scored 2, Lew Bowser scored 2, and Brandon Miller scored 2.
Eaton improved to 4-4 with Wednesday’s win and broke a four-game losing streak. Tri-Village fell to 3-4, seeing its losing streak extend to four games.
“We’ve gotten better,” Sagester said. “Since the Newton game, over time, we’ve progressed as a team.”
Mariemont won the Patriot Holiday Classic by defeating Jefferson Township 60-36. The Warriors are the first team other than host Tri-Village to win the tournament in its three-year history.
Eaton’s Donnie Nicodemus, Eaton’s Trevor Pittman, Jefferson’s Issac Guy, Mariemont’s Connor Dougherty, Mariemont’s Jacob Trester and Tri-Village’s Jonny Wilson made the Patriot Holiday Classic all-tournament team.
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.