NEW MADISON – Arcanum hung with Tri-Village throughout Tuesday’s game, but in the end the Patriots pulled out the 56-49 Cross County Conference victory.
At the end of the night, both teams’ coaches left feeling positive about what their squads were able to accomplish.
“We played much better than we did, I think, on …. just more inspired than we did on Friday night,” Tri-Village boys basketball coach Josh Sagester said. “I thought offensively we did a good job of getting it to Trace (Couch), and I think we also did a good job of having some other guys step up and make some plays with Gavin (Richards) in foul trouble.”
Early on it looked like Tri-Village could run away with the game as the Patriots started the night on a 7-0 run with a 3-pointer by Richards followed by baskets by Jonny Wilson and Couch.
But the Patriots didn’t run away with it as Arcanum needed just 66 seconds to tie the game with a basket by Wade Meeks sparking a 7-0 rally that also included 5 points from Evan Atchley.
“We could have packed our bags,” Arcanum coach Marcus Bixler said. “I said, ‘We can walk out of here with our head held high’ because we had the opportunity to fight back.”
For the rest of the opening quarter it was back and forth with Tri-Village holding a 15-12 advantage at the end of the period.
Carter Gray hit a 3-pointer early in the second quarter that tied the game at 15-15. However, Tri-Village responded with a 12-0 run over the next 5:30 that put the Patriots up 27-15, and at halftime the Patriots led 29-19.
Arcanum again refused to go quietly and battled its way back into the game. The Trojans started the second half on a 12-5 run that reduced their deficit to a single possession.
“Their guys made some timely shots,” Sagester said. “We were up 29-16, and they banged a 3. They were able to combat our 2s with their 3s, and their kids did a good job of penetrating and finding the open man. And give them some credit for making some big shots in a hostile environment.”
Tri-Village was able to finish the third quarter on a 7-0 run, though, going into the fourth quarter up 41-31.
Arcanum began the fourth quarter on an 8-2 run, cutting the deficit to 43-39, which prompted Tri-Village to use a timeout with 4:49 remaining. Moments later the Trojans further reduced the deficit, making it 45-42 on an Andrew Baker 3-pointer.
That was as close as Arcanum would get the rest of the night, however, as Tri-Village held off the Trojan charge and won 56-49.
“Defensively on a one-day prep, just yesterday, to go through everything that Tri-Village likes to do … the task is next to impossible with everything they run,” Bixler said. “Kind of left it to three things: if we can jump to a pass and if we can communicate and be physical we’re going to give ourselves a chance. And more times than not tonight we were able to do that defensively and as a result we gave ourselves an opportunity there in the fourth quarter.”
Dillon McCullough led Tri-Village with a game-high 17 points. Also for the Patriots, Couch scored 16 points, Wilson scored 11, Richards scored 6, Jared Buckley scored 2, Trey Frech scored 2, and Christian Ricker scored 2.
Atchley led Arcanum with 14 points. Also for the Trojans, Gray scored 8 points, Brandon Kinney scored 8, Dylan Burns scored 7, Baker scored 6, and Meeks scored 6.
Tri-Village improved to 5-4 overall and 3-2 in the CCC while Arcanum fell to 2-8 overall and 1-5 in the CCC. Arcanum will play host to Newton Friday, and Tri-Village plays at Twin Valley South Friday.
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.