NEW MADISON – The Tri-Village Lady Patriots had an outstanding season last year, winning the Cross County Conference title with an undefeated league season and a 24-2 overall record then winning a district title before falling in the Ohio High School Athletic Association regional tournament.
The Patriots graduated three key players that contributed nearly 50 points per game.
Gone is Allie Downing, the CCC player of the year, who is now playing at Belmont Abbey. Also graduating was post player Danika Mann, now playing at Ohio Christian, and Rachel Miller, who was the point guard.
The 2017-18 Lady Patriots return five letter winners, and all will see significant action this year.
Emma Printz, a 5-foot 6-inch junior guard, will be the most experienced player a two-year starter averaging nine points per game.
Trisa Porter, a 5-foot 8-inch sophomore forward, was the team leader in assists last year and is a very gifted passer. She shoots the ball well from the perimeter and has the ability to be an effective post player as well. She contributed four points per game last year.
Lissa Siler, a 5-foot 7-inch sophomore forward, led the junior varsity team in scoring last year and earned a varsity letter as a freshman. She can score multiple ways and will be looking to add some offense for the PATS.
Autaum Moore, a 5-foot 9-inch senior forward, has lettered the last two years. She is very athletic and runs the floor extremely well.
Peyton Bietry, a 5-foot 2-inch junior, lettered last year and was the back-up point guard. She will look to provide strength once again in that area.
The Lady Patriots have several other key contributors stepping up this season.
Maddie Downing, a 6-foot sophomore, has worked hard in the offseason and has been the most consistent offensive players in scrimmages. She will look make her presence felt both offensively and defensively in the paint.
Andi Bietry, a 5-foot 4- inch sophomore, was the floor general last year for the junior varsity team, which lost just one game. She will look to guide the varsity squad this year.
Lauren Flory, a 5-foot 7-inch senior post, has been an effective poster player for her size and has the ability to step out and shoot from 15 feet. She will be looked upon to give support in the paint.
Madison Foreman, a 5-foot 4-inch sophomore forward, is the best on-ball defender. She can change the pace of the game when she comes in and will bolster the defense for the Lady Patriots.
Kayla Burke, a 5-foot 3-three senior guard, rounds out the varsity squad. She is a very feisty defender and good little shooter.
Tri-Village will be another young team in the CCC, but veteran coach Brad Gray thinks the Patriots will be very competitive despite their youth.
“I think our strength this year is our athleticism on the perimeter,” he said. “We have also rebounded the ball very well in our scrimmages, which was an area of concern coming into the year because of our lack of size. If we keep rebounding well that will be a huge benefit for us.
“For us to be successful this year we will have to do the following:
“Be able to play with a next play up mentality. We are going to make some young mistakes, especially early in the year, because this is an extremely young team.
“Take care of the basketball. We have to value every possession and take shots that give us the best chance to be successful.
“Do the same things that have been good to us over the past few years – our transition game and solid half-court defense.
“Our goals as a team is to win the next one. That is all that we focus on. We don’t talk about achieving a certain number of wins; we just focus on winning the next one. If we can take care of that then we will have a good season,” Gray said.
“As a coach, I want to see this team to improve daily. The start of the season will have bumps in the road because of our youth … but I believe we can be very dangerous during the part of the season that matters most, the postseason. We have a core group that will be here for the next three years so we want to make sure we continue to get better with this group.
“I think the CCC as a whole is getting better. In the past, it has been a two or three team race. I think this year a number of teams can be dangerous. The favorite in my opinion is Miami East. They return basically everybody from last year and also get Morgan Haney back from her knee injury that kept her out all last year. She is one of the best players in the Dayton area regardless of division.
“It will be a tight race with Franklin Monroe, Covington, Newton, Arcanum and Tri-Village all competing for the Cross County Conference title,” Gray concluded.