NEW MADISON – A strong start and finish were keys for the Tri-Village girls basketball team’s 52-41 win over Midwest Athletic Conference power St. Henry in a non-conference game on Saturday.
The Downing towers – junior Maddie and freshman Meghan – scored 17 of Tri-Village’s 20 first-quarter points to give the Patriots a nice 10-point lead 20-10 after one quarter of play. Maddie Downing scored 10 of her game-high 14 points in the frame, while Meghan Downing had 7. Senior Emma Printz fired in a triple to account for the other 3 points.
“It was big for us to come out strong against St. Henry today. Last year they really dominated us at their place, and they were the ones who got off to a good start,” Tri-Village coach Brad Gray said. “We wanted to get the ball inside, that was a big focus for us. We feel we’re pretty big inside and those girls (Maddie and Meghan Downing) were really good for us early.”
St. Henry would switch things up in the second quarter by going to a zone and it would prove effective slowing down the Patriots by holding them to just 5 points to close the gap at the break to 25-19.
“I just wish we were a little better about getting the ball inside when St. Henry switched to a zone, but we sort of settled for outside shots and they weren’t falling,” Gray stated.
Fortunately, the Patriots got off to a good start in the third quarter scoring a couple of quick buckets with Lissa Siler scoring inside and Printz dropping a trey expanding the lead back to 10 at 30-20 giving Gray an opportunity to make a strategic move.
“When we got the lead back to 10, I decided we were going to hold the ball and force them back into a man-to-man so we could execute our offense and get some post touches again,” Gray commented.
Tri-Village scored 14 points and had good balance in the third with six players scoring both inside and outside, but the Redskins caught fire beyond the arch putting up 14 points as well.
With the Patriots leading 36-33, TV senior Peyton Bietry gave the Patriots some breathing room with a big triple to go up 39-33 going into the final stanza.
In the second game of the season, Tri-Village jumped all over Versailles from the MAC to start the game, but Tigers picked up their intensity and their physicality started to take a toll in coming all the way back to defeat the Patriots in overtime.
“St. Henry, who also plays in the Midwest Athletic Conference which obviously gets a lot of publicity because they have a lot of good team,s don’t really have a night off. They’re battle tested because every night they play someone who is capable of beating them, so a 6-1 record coming in today is very impressive,” Gray said.
Much to the delight of coach Gray the Patriots showed growth in their ninth win in 10 games by handling the physical banging and making smart decisions in the half court forcing St. Henry to foul them in the fourth quarter, and more importantly not wilting and making plays to extend the lead and stave off any comeback attempt by St. Henry.
The Redskins would end up fouling Siler multiple times down the stretch and the junior guard would knock down 7-of-9 from the stripe.
“It was good to see Lissa Siler get to the free throw line at the end of the game and knock them down. She has kind of struggled a little this year. Last year she shot 80 percent so it was good to see her get there and find a rhythm. I’m not sure there is anyone else I would want at the line at the end of the game,” Gray praised.
“It was just really good to see us get off to a good start and then compete down the stretch with a physical gritty team,” Gray said.
Although the Patriots held the Redskins to just 41 points, they had success from the perimeter making seven 3-pointers, but it was something coach Gray was willing to live with.
“We felt like their strength was off the shot fake and dribble drive into the paint and get the ball up on the glass and then they are a really good offensive rebounding team, but I thought we did a good job on the glass tonight and stopping them from driving the ball and that was a big key for us tonight in securing the win,” Gray concluded.
Tri-Village was led by Maddie Downing and Siler with 14 points each and Meghan Downing had 13. Printz also added 8 points in the win.
The Patriots will get a little break for Christmas before traveling to Ansonia for a game on Thursday, Dec. 27.
Score by quarters:
St. Henry – Stammen 0-1-0/0 – 4, A. Vaughn 0-1-0/0 – 2, Lange 3-0-0/0 – 9, Siefring 0-3-1/2 – 7, M. Vaughn 0-1-0/0 – 2, Deitrich 0-1-0/0 – 2, Buscher 2-0-0/0 – 6, D. Vaughn 2-1-1/2 – 9. Totals 7-9-2/4 – 41.
Tri-Village – Printz 2-1-0/0 – 8, Me Downing 0-6-1/1 – 13, P. Bietry 1-0-0/0 – 3, L. Siler 1-2-7/9 – 14, Ma Downing 0-7-0/0 – 14. Totals 4-16-8/10 – 52.
3-pointers – St. Henry 7 (Lange 3, Buscher 2, D. Vaughn 2), Tri-Village 4 (Printz 2, P. Bietry 1, Siler 1)
Records: SH (6-2), TV (9-1)