NEW MADISON – The Battleground was the place to be Thursday night when Tri-Village hosted Miami East. Both teams came into the game undefeated in the Cross County Conference play and to the winner control of the league race.
Miami East overcame a 10-point second quarter deficit to tie the game at the break and then exploded for 21 points in the third quarter to distance itself from Tri-Village then staved off a couple of fourth quarter runs by being solid at the line down the stretch to earn a 65-59 win.
The Vikings had the hot hand from the perimeter on this night, knocking down 10 triples, most of them in a late second quarter rally and an early run in the third quarter to give them space and a 10-point lead.
The Patriots jumped out to a 4-0 lead, but the Vikings got two treys from Camryn Miller early. They would be her only points on the night, helping East go up 10-8 at 2:43 of the first quarter.
The Patriots came back with a triple and fielder from Lissa Siler to go up 13-12 in the first quarter.
Tri-Village found success in the second quarter pounding the ball inside to Maddie Downing, who scored 6 straight points as the Patriots went up 22-14.
East, however, clawed back into the game behind senior Hailey Howard and point guard Morgan Haney. Howard scored 7 points including a triple, and then Haney scored 8 straight points on two triples and a fielder … and the Vikings had come all the way back tying the game 29-all at the break.
“The turning point in the game was in the second quarter where we allowed them to come back and tie it at the half,” Tri-Village girls basketball coach Brad Gray said. “It gave them a sense of hope. If we had an 8 or 10-point lead at the half I think we come back out and stretch it in the second half.”
Howard along with Haney both continued their torrid shooting, both knocking down two triples as the Vikings opened up 10-point lead, scoring 21 points in the third quarter.
“In my opinion Haney is the best player in our conference, and she played like it tonight. We knew she would get hers, and I thought we could slow down some of the other kids,” Gray said.
“You have to give the Howard girl credit. When you look at scouting reports and stats she was like 4-14 from beyond the arch coming in and made three of them tonight. So obviously we gave her an opportunity to shoot and to her credit she made them,” Gray added.
Emma Printz scored 8 points in the third quarter to lead TV, but the Patriots’ 11 team points left them short on the scoreboard, 50-40, heading into the fourth quarter.
Every time Tri-Village found success, Miami East made adjustments defensively so Gray had Trisa Porter posting up on the block and let her go to work where she scored 10 of the Patriots’ 19 points in the final stanza.
Every run the Patriots made was matched by a big shot or a made free throw by the Vikings, from two of the quietest players on the squad as Bailey Miller scored 7 points and Kaitlyn Mack 5, all from the free throw line, to hold the PATS at bay for a 65-59 win.
“The Mack girl coming in was 2-for-8 from the free throw line and she goes 5-for-6 late; that’s kids making plays, Gray said.
“To their credit they made the plays they had to make. Their kids made some big times shots in big time moments, and you tip your hat; they deserved to win,” Gray said.
“I’m not upset with the way our kids played. It’s not like we came in here and laid an egg. We played a good basketball game, and I thought our kids played their hearts out tonight,” Gray said.
Tri-Village’s league loss was not only the first this year but the first in four years for the Patriots … a stat that Coach Gray was not even thinking about as he talked about the bigger picture.
“It probably cost a league title tonight … but there are bigger things coming up at the end of the year we want to accomplish. For some reason, right now we are struggling to make shots consistently from the perimeter. We are a better shooting team than we have been showing ourselves to be, and hopefully we get going and right the ship in the right direction,” Gray concluded.
Miami East was led by Morgan Haney with 19 points, Haley Howard 15 and Morgan Haney 14 as the Vikings improve to 11-3 overall and 7-0 in the conference.
Tri-Village was led by Porter and Siler each with 17 points, Printz had 15, and Downing added 10. The PATS, who fell to 10-3 overall and 6-1 in the conference, will travel to National Trail on Saturday.
Score by quarters
ME….12 …17 … 21 … 15 – 65
TV … 13 …16 …11 … 19 – 59
Miami East – Bailey Miller 14, Morgan Haney 19, Camryn Miller 6, Maria Staten 2, Kaitlyn Mack 9, Haley Howard 15; Totals 10-12-11/15 – 65
Tri-Village – Emma Printz 15, Trisa Porter 17, Lissa Siler 17, Maddie Downing 10; Totals – 5-19-6/11 – 59