NEW MADISON – It has been a couple of years since Tri-Village has won its own Patriot Holiday Classic tournament championship.
The Patriots were crowned champions in each of the first two years of the tournament (2014 and 2015), but have been on the outside looking in the past two seasons. Now, Tri-Village has an opportunity to get another title after defeating Jefferson 57-44 in a Friday night semifinal match.
“It is another win in the record books of course, and for me it was good to see my boys shoot the ball well,” Tri-Village coach Mackenzie Perry said after the win. “We shot the ball really well. We have been waiting on that for a few games now so I was happy about that.”
The Patriots (4-3) were pretty much lights out in the first half jumping out to a 42-16 halftime lead. A big chunk of that came from the long ball as Tri-Village drained six 3-pointers in the first two quarters, four of them from Gage Hileman and the other two by Layne Sarver.
“My shots have been a little rough lately so I have just been working a lot in practice trying to get my shot back to how it was the first three games,( said Hileman, who finished the game with a team-high 18 points. “It feels nice and I have to thank my teammates for finding me in the open spots and also for getting me open.”
Hileman said it feels good to be playing in the championship game after having not had that opportunity the past two seasons.
“We haven’t won our holiday tournament since I have been here so it feels nice to actually have a chance to play in the championship game,” Hileman said. “Every year we have lost to Jefferson so it is nice to finally move on and be able to try and accomplish what we want.”
In order to accomplish what they want, the Patriots will have to knock off the tournament’s defending champions in Ansonia after the Tigers knocked off Eaton in the first semifinal match of the night. Tri-Village did top the Tigers earlier this season in an overtime thriller.
Jefferson started off well building a 9-6 lead on the Patriots, but with 3:40 to play in the opening frame Hileman nailed a 3-point shot to tie the game at 9-9 and Tri-Village was off and running on a 19-0 spurt into the second quarter and a 25-9 lead before the Broncos touched the net again. Jefferson scored a couple more buckets in the second quarter but the Patriots closed out the half on another 15-0 run for the 42-16 halftime margin.
But then Tri-Village’s offense seemed to disappear somewhat in the second half. After scoring 42 points in the first half, TVHS touched up Jefferson for just 15 points total in the third and fourth periods. That left Coach Perry a little uneasy.
“We have to make sure we put two halves together,” Perry said. “I think after the first half we felt we could just coast in the second half, but we really have to make sure we finish the job. I am happy with the win, but for us and for our goals we have to be better.
“We had a pretty big lead going into the second half,” he continued. “But you have to stay in the whole game and it takes a next level approach to do that and that is what we are trying to get to. I’m being grumpy, but really I am happy. I am very happy with the win and I am glad everyone got in the game.”
Perry praised all his players, but particularly Hileman with his 18 points.
“Gage was a big part of the offense clicking tonight,” Perry said. “He hit his shots and was knocking down 3s and I’ll be honest with you our guys did a great job of finding the gaps where he was at and he knocked them down. We ran our sets and executed and it was wonderful to watch. Gage has been working really hard on that jump shot, so for me I have seen that in practice and it was really cool to see him manifest that in a game.
“We did get off to a slow start,” he continued. “They got a couple of and-ones and they hustled and got some buckets, but as I told our guys we have to make sure we run our sets because when we do that we can score and that’s what we did. Gage started to knock down some 3s and then the floor was opening up. Derek (Eyer) and Layne (Sarver) were a big part of that too. Everyone played their part and I was really happy about that for sure.”
After Hileman’s 18 points, the Patriots had Eyer with 17 points and Sarver with 10.
Jefferson was led by Colbert Frost with a game-high 21 points.
Score by quarters
Jefferson – Tae Quan Herron 2 0 5, Jabar Coleman 3 0 7, Cavone Richardson 2 1 6, Kendall Jones 1 2 4, Colbert Bosen 9 2 21. Totals: 17 6 44.
Tri-Village – Gage Hileman 5 4 18, Mason Sullenbarger 1 0 2, Derek Eyer 6 5 17, Layne Sarver 4 0 10, Darrell Lee 4 0 8, Mason Lay 1 0 2. Totals: 21 9 57.
3-pointers – Jefferson 4 (Herron, Coleman, Richardson, Bosen), Tri-Village 6 (Hileman 4, Sarver 2).
Records: Jefferson (1-6), Tri-Village (4-3).
The Daily Advocate sports editor Skip Weaver can be reached at (937) 569-4316 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow him on Twitter at @skipweaver65.