NEW MADISON – It was an exciting way to kick of the 2015-16 basketball campaign for the Tri-Village Patriots as they recognized the 2015 state championship team prior to Saturday’s game and unveiled the new banner in the gym.
Most teams might have been a little awestruck with the pre-game ceremony … but not visiting Southeastern. Southeastern was a 72-33 winner over Greenon on Friday night, and for the Trojans it was a chance to showcase they know how to play basketball, too, and they brought it.
Tri-Village held a seven-point lead in the third quarter and had a five-point lead with seven seconds in regulation … but Southeastern’s senior Jake Bertemese made two clutch triples one at the buzzer to send the game into overtime.
The Patriots had to dig deep in OT and made just enough free throws to win their season opener with a 66-62 non-conference win over the Trojans.
“That was a good basketball team we played tonight,” Tri-Village boys basketball coach Josh Sagester said. “We saw them play last night, and they made 10 threes, and tonight they made 11 of them. So they have some skilled kids, and we knew it was going to be a tough game.”
Early in the contest it was evident Southeastern’s guards were just as quick and fast as Tri-Village and it was going to be tough getting open looks. The Trojans took a 4-3 lead with about five minutes to play when the Patriots inserted Trace Couch into the lineup
Couch immediately had an impact, scoring on the block to put the PATS up 5-4, and the lead would see-saw back and forth, ending in a deadlock at 13 when the quarter ended.
Couch had seven points and Gavin Richards six as they were the only to Patriots to score in the quarter.
“We knew he was a player and definitely going to help our team by giving us a post presence both offensively and defensively,” Sagester said on the play of his big man Trace Couch. “I’ve been very lucky to have had good post players, and sometimes you have to be lucky rather than good. He shows up on our doorstep and getting eligible was important to us as he takes heat off our guards and gives us a player who can score with their back to the basket.”
In the second period Richards got TV going with a basket at the rim followed by a triple and an alley-oop deuce to give the Patriots a 21-15 lead.
Richards scored eight points in the second frame, and Couch added six points including an oop at the buzzer, giving the Patriots a 27-22 lead at the break.
Richards was quiet in the third period … but veteran senior guard Tyler VanWinkle stepped forward, scoring eight points including back to back triples. However, Tri-Village was having difficulty slowing down Southeastern, who took the lead on a trey by Miller at the buzzer, 43-42.
Tri-Village looked like it was starting to roll and pull ahead after an old-fashioned three by Couch and a triple from behind the arch from Richards to go up 52-47.
But Southeastern was a veteran team returning their entire team from last year, and the Trojans weren’t going away per the heroic shots by Jake Bertemes that sent the game to overtime.
In the overtime period Tri-Village didn’t score from the field but did go 7-10 from the free throw line including the last three by VanWinkle to win it by the score of 66-62.
“We uncharacteristically missed some free throws down the stretch and opened the door for them, and they stepped through it and hit some big shots … but I hate to beat a dead horse, our kids just know how to win, and we made just enough plays down stretch to win,” Sagester said.
“I’m really proud of our effort tonight. We are asking some kids to do some different things they have never been asked to do so we know this is going to be a process,” Sagester said.
“It was nice to see Gavin Richards have a good night for us and have Trace Couch get off to a good start,” Sagester said.
“It wasn’t the best game for our senior leader, Tyler VanWinkle … but when we needed some big plays he gave them to us with the charge he took late and the free throw down the stretch,” Sagester said.
“It felt very strange tonight not putting Colton Linkous or Damion Cook names in the book. We have things to work on without them, like defensive rebounding. We are going to have to have some guys step up and stick their nose in there and track some balls down,” Sagester said.
“We know we are going to be getting everybody’s best shot, and it’s not going to get any easier,” Sagester said.
“Next Friday we are going to Newton, who I’m sure is a much improved team from last year, and the next night head into Northridge, who had a tremendous team last year,” Sagester added.
“It was a pretty emotional night for us and more difficult than I thought it would be after hugging the four freshmen in college and then trying to get yourself put back together to coach a basketball team,” Sagester said.
“It was very emotional on my end as we had a great crowd and great community support, and it was really special to share this with them, and I think we did our team proud … and of course it was great to come away with a win tonight,” Sagester said.
Richards led all scorers with 26 points, Couch has 21 and VanWinkle 14 in the win.
Score by quarters:
TV …13…14…15…14 – 66
SE …13…09…21…14 – 62
Knox Morris 1, Tyler VanWinkle 14, Jonny Wilson 1, Brett Boyter 3, Gavin Richards 26, Trace Couch 21 – Totals 6-15-18/32 – 66
Toops 6, Bertemes 22, Spears 16, King 6, Lyons 3, Miller 5 – Totals 11-13-3/8 – 62
TV – 6 (Richards 3, VanWinkle 2, Boyter 1)
SE – 11 (Bertemes 5, Spears 3, Toops 1, Miller 1)