NEW MADISON – Tri-Village senior Gage Hileman got hot early which sparked the rest of the Patriots offense in a 73-34 Cross County Conference win over Bradford on Tuesday night.
Hileman connected on his first four 3-pointers and had 14 of his game-high 20 points by halftime. He drained six triples in all plus a 2-pointer for his 20 points.
“When Gage is hot it just seems to open up the offense for us a little bit,” Tri-Village coach Mackenzie Perry said. “He had four in a row before his first missed shot.”
As Perry mentioned, once Hileman found his offensive groove, so too did his teammates. Freshman Layne Sarver scored 8 of his 13 points in the first half, and then in the second half Derek Eyer scored 11 of his 14 points. Mason Lay also scored 8 of his point in the second half.
“Layne can score the basketball,” Perry said. “He has had a few games where he has scored 18 points coming off the bench and he has been a nice little spark plug for us. He is going to be a pivotal player for us the rest of this season and the next few years to come for sure.
“For him as a freshman it is just learning how he can fit to the team and just try to be more involve as a shooter and scorer,” he continued. “We are trying to work with him on the defensive end as well and he is getting a lot better at that and that makes a world of difference.”
It wasn’t all offense, however, for the Patriots as they held Bradford to just 13 points in the first half.
“On the offensive end we just lack a little bit of execution,” Bradford coach Jason Wills said. “We have to get better executing the plays and doing the things we need to do.
“I think we played a pretty good game overall, but I think what killed us was on defense we let them drive to the basket too easy,” he continued. “I think we worked hard on defense, but we just gave up a couple things way too easy. The penetration is what killed us. Other than that I think we did pretty well.”
The free throw line did present an issue for the Railroaders. They were 5-for-21, or 23 percent, at the line.
“Absolutely we could have made a few more free throws,” Wills said. “We addressed that in the locker room. If we make half of our free throws and we shoot 50 percent from the field I think it’s a different outcome. It is just the little things like that that make a big difference, but we’re getting there. We are moving in the right direction. I know it is hard to see when you look at the score, but I am seeing progression. I think the score doesn’t portray what happened in the game in my eyes.”
Hileman’s 20 led the Patriots in scoring followed by Eyer with 14 and Sarver with 13. For Bradford, Connor Jones led the way with 10 followed by Taven Leach with 8 and Kegan Fair with 7.
After a stint of three road games, Tri-Village is now in the middle of a four-game homestand. They have Arcanum on Friday night and Greenville on Saturday before heading back out.
“It is always a blast to play here,” Perry said. “The fans are have all been supportive of this team and of me and you know it it is a different vibe. We have had some of our best games here at home and that helps us out big time. I feel like we playing pretty good as a team, We know that the conference is still attainable and we are just going to take it one game at a time.”
For Bradford, they travel top Newton on Friday.
Score by quarters
Bradford – Gage Wills 2 0 5, Taven Leach 3 2 8, Connor Jones 4 2 10, Kegan Fair 3 1 7, Josiah Brewer 1 0 2, Wyatt Spangler 1 0 2. Totals: 14 5 34.
Tri-Village – Gage Hileman 7 0 19, Mason Sullenbarger 0 4 4, Austin Bruner 3 0 6, Derek Eyer 5 4 14, Layne Sarver 5 3 13, Darrell Lee 3 2 8, Mason Lay 3 2 8. Totals: 26 15 73.
3-pointers – Bradford 1 (Wills), Tri-Village 6 (Hileman 6).
Records: Bradford (0-11, 0-6 CCC), Tri-Village (6-5, 3-2 CCC).
The Daily Advocate sports editor Skip Weaver can be reached at (937) 569-4316 or by email at email@example.com. You can also follow him on Twitter at @skipweaver65.