NEW MADISON – The Tri-Village Lady Patriots basketball team has the makings of being very special in 2018-19. The Patriots fell in the regional semi-final game last year to Minster, who went on to claim the Division IV state title.
Getting that far and losing to the eventual state champions will undoubtedly be etched in their mind as they embark on the upcoming season.
Last year’s team finished 11-1 in the Cross County Conference finishing runner-up to Miami East breaking a three-year hold the Patriots had on the title.
Graduating off last year’s 21-6 team was Autumn Moore, Lauren Flory and Kayla Burke, but the Patriots return seven of their top players and that experience of reaching the sweet 16 will prove valuable this year.
The Patriots active roster will include two seniors, five juniors and one freshman.
Senior wing player Emma Printz is a two- year starter and a good defender who can get out on the break and finish at the rim. She was a second team all-conference performer last year.
Senior Peyton Bietry will provide valuable back-up minutes at point guard having lettered at the same spot the last two years and is a two year letter winner.
Junior Lissa Siler will return at the wing and was the team top scorer last year at just over 14 points a game. The junior was named an All Ohio Special Mention and will be the focus of many defenses this year.
Junior Maddie Downing was the team’s leading rebounder and second in scoring. The 6-foot-1 post player was also named an All Ohio Honorable Mention and will again be a huge presence in the paint for the Pats.
Junior Trisa Porter will be in her third year as a starter and was the team leader in assists. She brings excitement to the game with her vision and passing ability and was a double digit scorer. Trisa is getting a later start to the season due to an injury, but will a key piece to the team when she returns as the season goes along.
Junior Andi Bietry returns at the point guard position and is the quarterback getting the team into the offense and running the show.
Junior Madison Foreman will provide valuable minutes off the bench and is a tenacious defender and sparkplug when she enters the game.
Freshman Meghan Downing is a 6-2 post player and will be a huge contributor for the team and could prove to be a difference maker on the defensive end of the floor giving the Patriots depth in the paint.
Rounding out the varsity roster will be three other freshmen who will dress, they are Delanee Gray, Chloe Godown and Molly Scantland.
Veteran Tri-Village coach Brad Gray, who is now entering his 13th season at the helm of the Lady Patriots, has 242 wins and 59 losses in the first 12 seasons. Mike Fisherback returns as the JV girls’ coach and newcomer Laden Delawder steps in as a varsity assistant.
Coach Gray’s team motto the last couple of years has been “winning the next one” without worrying to much about the big picture.
“Our strength this year should be that we return our top seven kids from last year’s Regional team and also add in a promising freshman, so our depth should be very good,” Gray said. “Our size is pretty good this year with 6-2 and 6-1 players in the post. Defense and rebounding will hopefully be strengths for us this year.
The Patriots play in the Cross Country Conference which may have more talented teams at the top level then they have had in many years.
“Hopefully we can be in the conversation for a league title,” Coach Gray said.
Gray sees Miami East, Covington, Franklin-Monroe and Arcanum all being top contenders.
“Miami East is the defending league champs and they return their best player Morgan Haney,” Gray stated.
“Covington won over 20 games last year and have Sammi Whiteman returning with a nice group of young kids mixed in and is very well coached,” Gray added.
“Franklin-Monroe could be the team to beat in the conference with everybody back off last year’s team that won over 20 games. Extremely scrappy group of kids who win with guts and “I Love the way they play!!,” Gray said.
“Arcanum has a nice nucleus of kids returning with a nice group of young kids coming up and is always a dangerous team,” Gray commented.
Gray also mentioned Bradford as a team that could surprise some teams this year.
“Bradford has a lot returning and has some nice young kids that they will be adding in. They also have Coach Besecker at the helm and his reputation speaks for itself. They could be a dangerous team.”
The Cross County Conference has a lot of talented teams this year and that will make for an exciting year of basketball.
The Patriots basketball program has been on solid ground for some time now and has won five district titles in the last eight years and four CCC titles in the last four years and once again hope to be in the hunt in both areas.
The Patriots made it all the way to Columbus in 2012 and if they can stay healthy and if the ball bounces the right way it could be the making of a very special team.
The Patriots will open the season in their annual Bill Burkett Holiday Tournament on Friday, Nov. 23 with match-up with Greenon.