ANSONIA – Behind a strong defensive performance, Tri-Village beat Ansonia 47-39 in a Cross County Conference boys basketball game on Friday.
Ansonia has a dangerous offense that can shoot and get to the rim, Tri-Village coach Mackenzie Perry said, so he was glad to see his team contain the Tigers.
“I think they did pretty good defensively,” Perry said of his team. “That’s a great shooting team out there that loves to dribble drive, and they made it a game, and it was fun to play and coach in it.”
Ansonia showed its offensive prowess early in Friday’s game as the Tigers jumped out to an 11-5 lead in the first five minutes of the game with scoring from Devyn Sink, Trevor Alexander and Hunter Buckingham.
With a couple buckets from Trey Frech, Tri-Village was able to reduce its deficit to a single point, 11-10, by the end of the first quarter.
Alexander had the hot hand early in the second quarter and scored 8 points in the first 2:12 of the period, pushing Ansonia’s lead to 19-13. However, that’s all the scoring Ansonia got in the quarter.
Tri-Village outscored Ansonia 9-0 in the final five minutes of the first half with balanced scoring from Noah Burns, Gage Hileman, Derek Eyer and Christian Ricker to take a 22-19 lead into the halftime break.
Along with playing great defense, Perry said Tri-Village benefited from Ansonia being without its leading scorer and rebounder, Hunter Muir, who missed Friday’s game with an injury.
“I know they were down a player,” Perry said. “Hunter didn’t play today so that kind of throws a monkey wrench into things, but the thing that we kind of preached all week was we’ve got to make sure that we protect the dribble drive and close out on shooters and make them shoot contested 3s so I think we did a great job with that tonight.”
Ansonia coach Chad Cramer said missing a key player doesn’t help, but the Tigers have to find a way to succeed with the players they have on the court.
“I’m sure it hurts, but we’ve got other guys,” Cramer said. “I mean we’ve been without guys all year so we can’t look at that as an excuse. We’re putting five guys out there just like they are.”
After a tightly contested first half, the game got even closer in the third quarter. Ansonia outscored Tri-Village 12-10 in the period to reduce the deficit to a single point entering the fourth quarter, 32-21.
Alexander hit a big 3-pointer in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter that gave Ansonia its first lead of the second half, 34-32.
Tri-Village answered with Jared Buckley making a game-tying basket then Hileman draining a go-ahead 3-pointer with 4:28 remaining. From there the Patriots held the lead of the rest of the night and won by 8, 47-39.
Tri-Village has had trouble executing down the stretch this season, Perry said, so he was happy to see the Patriots finish strong in Friday’s game.
“Gage hit a big 3, Noah had a big drive down the stretch, and it was good,” he said.
Though his team came up on the losing end Friday night, Cramer said, he was proud of the Tigers’ effort throughout the game.
“Effort was great,” he said. “Kids played their butts off. Our execution wasn’t great at times, but our kids’ effort was terrific. It was a good game all the way until the end when they pulled away a little bit.”
Alexander led Ansonia with a game-high 18 points on Friday. Also for the Tigers, Buckingham scored 6 points, Sink scored 6, Brayden Swabb scored 5, Cody Sanders scored 2, and Matthew Shook scored 2.
Hileman led Tri-Village with 14 points. Also for the Patriots, Buckley scored 9 points, Frech scored 9, Burns scored 7, Ricker scored 6, and Eyer scored 2.
Tri-Village improved to 9-12 overall and 7-5 in the CCC with the win while Ansonia fell to 10-10-1 overall and 6-5 in the CCC.
Prior to Friday’s game, Ansonia honored its seniors including senior basketball players Trevor Alexander, Aydan Sanders, Cody Sanders and Brayden Swabb.
“That’s been a good group,” Cramer said. “I came in with them as sophomores so we’ve been around each other for three years. They work hard. They’re good kids. They’re good role models for community and our young people so they’ve been terrific.”
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.