NEW MADISON – Tri-Village had to overcome a gritty Ansonia team trying to spoil senior night festivities, but the Tigers’ last second shot never made it to the rim, and the Patriots survived 46-45.
The Patriots started out Friday night like they might run away with it, going up 13-3 with senior Trace Couch scoring 7 points inside and Gavin Richards 6 points on two triples.
Ansonia, though, caught fire behind the arch and stormed back on five triples with Aydan Sanders and Devyn Sink each knocking down two and Brayden Swabb one to close to 17-15 to end the first quarter.
It quickly became a physical game that produced foul trouble for Tri-Village on the interior with Couch and Jared Buckley each finding time on the pine.
Sanders connected on a trey to start the second quarter, making the first six scores for the Tigers all triples … but they would cool off from the perimeter and trailed Tri-Village 30-24 at the half.
Following the break, it was sophomore Hunter Muir stepping out of the shadows to give Ansonia a boost. The big man scored 7 points including a triple. Swabb also added one from long range and Trevor Alexander’s triple at the buzzer put the Tigers in front of the home team, 37-35.
With Couch and Buckley sitting on the bench, the Patriots were unable generate any post offense that led to just 5 points for Tri-Village in the third quarter.
The burden of scoring fell on Richards as Ansonia’s defense caused the PATS problems all night, and Richards scored 8 of the team’s 11 points in the final stanza including a free throw with five seconds to play that regained the lead for the Patriots, 46-45.
Ansonia had one last chance but the ball would slip out of the hands of the Tiger shooter and fell short, giving the Patriots a 46-45 win on senior night.
It would be a big night for Richards, who scored 23 points, the only Patriot to reach double figures.
Ansonia had three players in double figure scoring with Muir and Swabb each with 11 points and Sanders added 10.
“I’m real proud of our effort tonight,” Ansonia boys basketball coach Chad Cramer said. “Essentially, we only go six deep, and they played awfully hard for a long time.
“Defensively we did a nice job of taking them out of their game, and Brayden Swabb was a key in putting pressure on their point guard while also knocking down some big shots for us,” Cramer added.
“If we could have gotten a few breaks here or there, or knocked down some free throws, we could have walked out of here with a win,” Cramer concluded.
Coach Josh Sagester would agree with Cramer.
“We are very fortunate to get a win tonight,” the Tri-Village coach said. “Hats off to Ansonia, they probably deserved to win tonight as they outplayed us all night.
“So much of what we do runs through our senior big man Trace Couch, and we didn’t have him on the floor most of the night. It was a real gutsy performance by senior Gavin Richards who just put the team on his back and willed us to the win tonight,” Sagester concluded.
It would be the last home game for three senior basketball players: Trace Couch, Gavin Richards and Jonny Wilson, along with three cheerleaders: Rachel Miller, Cheyenne Meyers and Destiney Hemmelgarn.
Tri-Village with the win improved to 15-6 overall and concluded Cross Country Conference play with a 9-3 record to finish in third behind Bethel and Franklin Monroe.
The Patriots will travel to Fort Loramie tonight to conclude regular season play before starting tournament play.
Ansonia concluded their regular season play at 12-10 overall and 6-6 in the Cross-County Conference.
The Tigers will start tournament play on Friday when they will play Covington at Piqua High School with a start time of 8:30 p.m. This will be a rematch for these two teams who played back on Feb. 3 that saw Covington hand the Tigers a 57-38 defeat.
Score by quarters:
TV….17…13…05…11 – 46
AN….15…09…13…08 – 45
McCullough 4, Wilson 5, Richards 23, Frech 2, Buckley 2, Ricker 2, Couch 8
Totals 2-13-14/25 – 46
Sanders 10, Sink ¬¬9, Swabb 11¬¬, Muir 11, Alexander 4
Totals 9-6-7/15 – 45
TV – 2 (Richards 2)
AN – 9¬¬ (Sanders 3, Swabb 3, Sink 2, Muir)