PLEASANT HILL – Coaches say games are won or lost at the free throw line.
In the case of the Lady Indians from Newton, it wasn’t that they didn’t get there (22 times) but only cashing in on eight throws would leave them short in their quest in knocking off Tri-Village, and they dropped a key Cross County Conference game 51-43 to the visitors.
Tri-Village didn’t’ get to the line as much as Newton but went 12-for-15 and eventually sealed the win for the Patriots down the stretch.
In the first quarter the lead went back and forth, but the Patriots dropped four triples — two by Allie Downing, one by Shelbey Dowler and one by Rachel Miller – to grab a 16-10 lead.
Newton hung tough on the play of Madison Mollette and Mallory Dunlevy, both with four points.
The Indians’ Tatum McBride found foul trouble and spent a lot of time on the bench in the first half. Eventually foul trouble would catch up with the Patriots, too, as Allie Downing and Danika Mann both saw bench time in the second quarter.
Newton would have its highest scoring quarter with 14 points in the second frame with Dunlevy leading the way with six.
TV upped Newton by one tally, scoring 15 points with treys from Miller and Emma Printz, as the PATS took a 31-24 halftime lead.
“Newton is a scrappy bunch and played really good full-court defense that caused us problems,” Tri-Village girls basketball coach Brad Gray said.
“They battled even when their point guard went out with foul trouble in the first half, and they hung around,” Gray added.
“We always play hard, and we are good at putting pressure on people … but we also made some mistakes and didn’t always execute taking bad angles, giving up some easy baskets, and that hurt us a little bit,” Newton coach Neil Hans said.
In the third quarter the Lady Indians applied half-court pressure that slowed down the Patriots offensively, but Newton couldn’t capitalize as both teams put eight points on the board with TV leading 39-32.
In the final stanza Newton ratcheted up the pressure again and after consecutive fielders by Mollette the Indians had cut the lead to 39-36.
Moments later Tatum McBride hit an open three and the Indians were knocking, trailing by two, 41-39, with 5:00 to go.
Tri-Village showed some character and patience, pounding the ball inside to Danika Mann, who scored the next six points to give the Patriots a 47-39 lead and some breathing room.
The Patriots then took care of the ball and made some free throws to keep the Indians at bay on their way to a 51-43 league win.
“That’s a good ball team,” Hans said. “We started to make some moves … but our lack of experience hurt us a few times. I really only have two kids that have much varsity experience, and I think that showed on defense tonight, especially in the half court. There were a few times they were supposed to either front or play behind Danika Mann in certain locations. We got stuck half way around and gave up some crucial baskets down the stretch and fouled them on top of it.
“Bottom line, they (Tri-Village) shot the ball very well in the first half and shot free throws very well, and we shot free throws poorly. We have been a good free throw shooting team but not tonight. If we make our free throws, we’re right there,” Hans concluded.
“Our kids made a ton of mistakes tonight against their pressure … but fortunately Newton missed a lot of free throws or maybe the outcome is a little bit different … but we did what we needed to do to win,” Gray said.
“That’s a good basketball team, and we are happy with the win … there are a handful of teams who are competing for a league title, and it was a good week for us as we fortunate to knock two of them, Covington and Newton,” Gray concluded.
Tri-Village was led by Danika Mann’s 14 points, Shelbey Dowler had 12 and Allie Downing 10 in the win.
For Newton it was Madison Mollette and Mallory Dunlevy with 10 points each.
Newton falls to 3-1 overall and 1-1 in the conference and not time to dwell as the Indians will travel to Miami East on Tuesday in another key Cross County Conference contest.
The Patriots improve to 5-0 overall and 3-0 in the conference. The Patriots have two upcoming tough non-conference games. They travel Saturday to take on a very talented New Bremen team and then Monday to Houston to take on the Wildcats.
Score by quarters:
TV …16…15…08…12 – 51
NE …10…14…08…11 – 43
Tri-Village (5-0, 3-0)
Rachel Miller 8, Emma Printz 3, Edie Morris 2, Allie Downing 10, Brooke Godown 2, Shelbey Dowler 12, Danika Mann 14 – Totals 7-9-12/15 – 51
NEWTON (3-1, 1-1)
Tatum McBride 7, Maddie Mollette 12, Macy Flanary 1, Elizabeth Carrell 3, Kaylee Kesler 5, Aliya Stine 5, Mallory Dunlevy 10 – Totals 1-15-8/22 – 43
TV – 7 (Downing 4, Poling 1, Dowler 1, Printz 1)
NE – 1 (McBride)