TROY – The Lady Patriots waltzed through the sectional tournament winning 3 games by a combined score of 236 – 66, or an average game score of 79 – 22. Coming into the District Title game against Legacy Christian offense wasn’t something they lacked. But points were hard to come by and the Knights hung step for step. The Patriots on a big basket and free throw by Senior Maddie Dowing forced the game into overtime and pulled away late surviving to advance to the Regionals with a 43-36 win.
The District Title win would be the 4th straight for the seniors on the team; Maddie Downing, Lissa Siler, Trisa Porter and Andi Bietry … but with just minutes left to go no one in the gym would have seen them earning that 4th title.
Legacy Christian behind a big triple and two tough fielders by leading scorer Emma Hess put the Knights in front 35-30 with 2:22 to go in the 4th quarter and the Patriots were struggling to generate any offense.
Shots that normally fall in the paint were left short all day and shaking free from the perimeter was equally tough. Much of that is a credit to how prepared Legacy was and their defensive execution to take away what the Patriots like to do.
Tri-Village stayed persistent getting the ball in the paint late with Maddie Downing finishing with defenders draped all over her drawing the foul to bring the PATS within a score 35-33.
The Knights left the door open missing free throws and led 36-33 with 30 seconds to go. Once again it was Maddie Downing to the rescue as she made a hard basket in the paint and added the free throw to tie the game. The Patriots rebounded one last shot attempt by the Knights to force overtime and from there it was all Tri-Village.
Early in the contest the PATS were well on their way to building a nice lead with Trisa Porter connecting on triple and Maddie Downing a fielder for an early 5-0 lead … but the Knights came back to tie it. Freshman Rylee Sagester hit a triple and Morgan Hunt a free throw to give TV a 9-5 lead at the end of the quarter.
The Patriots extended the lead to 14-5 early in the 2nd quarter but a triple by Margaret Kensinger helped Legacy close the gap to 14-12 at the 4:39 mark.
Sagester responded by getting an open look to go back up 17-12 … and a few minutes later Andi Bietry drained a triple to close out the first half giving the Patriots a 22-14 lead at the half.
Despite a great defensive effort on the part of Morgan Hunt and Andi Bietry slowing down Legacy’s two best players on offense, TV only led by 8 at the break giving concern to head coach Brad Gray.
“In the first half we did a good job of defending Legacy and their two best players and yet we were only up 8 points. We knew they were going to be more assertive in the second half,” Patriot boss Brad Gray said.
The duo of Emma Hess and Kathleen Ahner were held to just 5 points in the first half but would score 19 of their 22 points in the second half to make it a game and nearly pulling off the upset.
Tri-Village struggled in the third quarter missing lay-ups and turning over the ball … but a big triple by Sagester from 30’ looked like it was going to give the PATS a 30-22 lead going into the final stanza. Hold the door … Emma Hess fired back from 40’ at the buzzer and just like that it was now 30-25.
Offensive struggles continued for the Patriots in the 4th period allowing the Knights to tie the game, then finally take the lead 35-30 … but that would set-up the heroics for senior Maddie Downing to send the game to overtime.
“Maddie was huge for us down the stretch, we didn’t do a good enough job of getting her touches after going to her at the start of the game and that’s on me,” Coach Gray said.
“Down the stretch we tried to get her the ball and it paid off … much like she has done her whole career she finished to help get the game into overtime,” Gray added.
Tri-Village outscored the Knights 7-0 in the overtime period and finally could exhale knowing they survived an unbelievable effort by Legacy Christian and advanced to the sweet sixteen.
“I’m really proud of this team,” Gray said after the game.
“We had our backs up against the wall, we didn’t panic, fortunately they helped us missing free throws. To our credit we made the plays we had to make. To Legacy’s credit, they were a Regional team last year with their two best kids back and we let them get involved in the 3rd and 4th quarter and it became game,” Gray commented.
The Patriots were led by Riley Sagester with 15 points, Maddie Downing with a double-double 12 points and 13 rebounds, Morgan Hunt had 10 points and 8 rebounds, Trisa Porter 8 rebounds and 3 assist and Andi Bietry with 4 assist.
Gray knows they dodged a bullet and his seniors get to continue playing next week against Cincinnati Country Day at Vandalia High School on Thursday March 5th at 8pm. Playing before them will be Fort Loramie vs Danville from the Columbus region at 6pm.
“It’s nice to be able to continue playing, Gray said. This group of seniors have won 4 district titles, man that’s not easy. I think we take it for granted and you don’t realize how hard it really is to accomplish … for those kids to do that with a target always on their back, it’s huge. I hope they aren’t satisfied because we want to go cut down another net, and then another after that … but for now our focus is on Country Day,” Gray concluded.
Score by Quarters:
Tri-Village 09…13…08…06…07 – 43
Legacy Christian 05…09…11…11…00 – 36
Tri-Village; Sagester 15, Hunt 10, Porter 3, Bietry 3, Ma Downing 12;
Totals 6-9-7/9 – 43
Legacy Christian; M. Kensinger 5, Ahner 9, Leach 4, Hess 15, Combs 3;
Totals 6-6-6/14 – 36
TV 6 (Siler 4, Sagester 1, Porter 1)
LC 2 (Ahner 3, M. Kensinger 1, Hess 1, Combs 1)