NEW MADISON – Going into Friday night basketball action, Tri-Village and Twin Valley South were the only two teams with no losses left in the Cross County Conference. Both would take one on the chin leaving the conference race wide open.
In the case of Tri-Village, it was too much of Mississinawa Valley’s D.J. Howell and too many free throws by the ‘Hawks that spelled their fate in a 58-42 loss to the Blackhawks.
Howell scored the first 11 points of the game for Mississinawa to go up 11-4 on Tri-Village and the Patriots were just unable to slow down the big man inside the paint.
Fortunately for TV, Howell was slowed by foul trouble later in the quarter and he would have to sit the bench and the Patriots were able to make a run to close out the first quarter trailing 16-10.
The Patriots attacked the Hawk defense with Derek Eyer getting to the rim for 8 of his game high 16 points in the second quarter. With the help of Gage Hileman’s 6 points and 2 from Layne Sarver the Patriots closed the gap at the break trailing 28-26.
With Howell returning to the lineup to start the third quarter the big man picked right back up where he left off in the first quarter scoring 8 more points to help the ‘Hawks keep control of the game to go up 39-34 after three quarters of play.
“D.J. played a nice game, we did a nice job of finding him and he finished well. Tri-Village did start to try and double team him a bit and so we had to go to a few different options at times as the game went along,” Mississinawa Valley coach Tim Barga said.
In the final stanza the Patriots were just unable to generate easy baskets to try and close the gap and would find themselves having to send the Blackhawks to the free throw line to get back into the game.
“I give credit to Tri-Village they kept coming back and we really never put them away until about two minutes left to play in the game and that was because we didn’t make free throws,” Barga stated.
The Blackhawks struggled a bit from the charity stripe on the night going just 25-for-41, but when you make more than the other team attempts it usually means a win for that team and Mississinawa Valley would go on to win the game by a score of 58-42.
“We made enough free throws to win the game, but it’s frustrating when you don’t make them consistently,” Barga said.
“We practice them every day, you would think we don’t, but we do. I tell the kids if you want to make an extra 4-5 points a game, get to the free throw line. I’ve lost almost 200 games in my coaching career, 147 of them come from the foul line, so it goes to show you the importance of making foul shots,” Barga added.
Howell led all scorers with 21 points and Max Dirmeyer added 13 for Mississinawa, which improved to 3-2 overall and 2-2 in the Cross County Conference. They will face Brookville next Friday in the Annual Jet Holiday Tournament.
Derek Eyer had 16 points for Tri-Village who falls to 3-2 overall and 2-1 in the Cross County Conference.
Score by Quarters:
Mississinawa Valley – Max Dirmeyer 1-2-6/8 – 13, Will Hall 0-1-0/2 – 2, Trent Collins 0-1-2/2 – 4, Alex Scholl 0-0-2/4 – 2, Josh Fett 0-1-3/4 – 5, Cody Dirksen 0-1-4/6 – 6, Blake Scholl 0-2-1/2 – 5, D.J. Howell 0-7-7/13 – 21. Totals 1-15-25/41 – 58.
Tri-Village – Gage Hileman 1-2-1/2 – 8, Mason Sullenbarger 0-2-0/0 – 4, Derek Eyer 0-6-4/10 – 16, Layne Sarver 2-1-0/2 – 8, Darrell Lee 0-2-0/2 – 4, Mason Lay 0-1-0/0 – 2. Totals 3-14-5/16 – 42.
MV: 1 (Dirmeyer), TV: 2 (Sarver 2, Hileman 1)
Records: MV (3-2, 2-2 CCC) – TV (3-2, 2-1 CCC)