VERSAILLES – The Tri-Village Lady Patriots squared off against league foe Tri-County North Lady Panthers in District Semifinal action at Versailles High School. The two contenders battled hard, as expected in a third-round tournament game. Also as expected, the top ranked Lady Patriots complete game would eventually overwhelm the Lady Panthers as they marched to a 73-23 victory and a chance to compete for another District Title.
Tri-Village would begin the game slow offensively, missing several open looks early. Tri-County North looked poised to contend in the early part of this contest, carefully dissecting the Lady Patriots full court pressure defense. Despite the confident breaking of pressure in the early part of the game, the Panthers would struggle to set-up and convert in a half-court offense.
TV pushed the game’s tempo in transition resulting in early buckets in the fast break from Freshman, Sydnee DeLong, senior Torie Richards, and a foul in transition on senior Rylee Sagester her to the free throw line.
In the half-court, Tri-Village found steady offense from senior Morgan Hunt and junior Bella Black. The forward duo capitalized offensively both in the paint and from distance early on, guided by excellent passing from the guard play of Torie Richards.
North would continue to battle hard on the defensive end of the floor, fighting hard to limit the big offensive production of Rylee Sagester setting up in a box and one defense and denying her the ball. Despite the effort, the depth of offensive talent from the Lady Patriots would bury Tri- County North early as they ended the first frame ahead 24-2.
The second quarter began as a mirror image. Led by Richards on both ends of the court, the Patriots continued full court pressure and was able to score both in transition and in the half- court set. Richards would lead all scorers in the half with 13 points and freshman Kynnedi Hager’s large presence was felt adding 9 points in the quarter and 11 total for the half.
The Panthers Bella Cherry attempted to speed up the offensive tempo attacking the basket and getting herself to the free throw line on two trips while setting up teammate Rilee Terry on a pass and shot that brought her to the free throw line as well. Tri-Village would easily wrap-up the first half ahead 48-8.
This would be the story for the remainder of the contest, as the Patriots held fast to their commanding lead. Five Patriots scored in double figures with Bella Black’s first half offense getting her close, finishing with 8 points. The Lady Patriots cruised ahead to a 73-23 victory at the conclusion of the second half.
Despite the sluggish starts offensively, Tri-Village again continues to show its ability to grab big leads early.
“Again, a slow start here in this gym, and we’ve struggled to shoot it in this gym,” commented Coach Brad Gray. “Both the first two games here (in the tournament) and then again early here tonight. I thought once we saw a couple (baskets) go through we looked pretty good.”
Coach Gray continued by recognizing the depth of his Lady Patriots team as Tri-County North attempted to stifle the play of Rylee Sagester.
“Bella hit a couple shots for us early here and has been a rebounding machine for us and has bought into that role for us. Everybody wants to score, but Bella has done a great job of buying into her role of getting loose balls, getting rebounds, and doing all the little things well for us.”
In addition to the play of Bella Black, freshman Sydnee DeLong was a big contributor offensively for the Patriots.
“For Sydnee DeLong it was really good to see the ball go through the net tonight. She’s done a lot of little things really well for us, and every kid wants the chance to score the ball, so you get frustrated when you don’t see the ball drop through the net. For her tonight it was a bit of a relief to finally start seeing the ball drop through the net a little bit more.”
Coach Gray also commented on one of the keys of the game, which was to limit the rebounding prowess of Rilee Terry, who led the league this year in rebounding.
“We wanted to keep her off of the glass. She got a couple (rebounds) that I wasn’t happy with, but overall, we did a really good job keeping off of the glass. To her credit, she went up and got some, but we really wanted to focus on that tonight, and I thought we did a good job.”
As the Tri-Village Lady Patriots have done since the start of the tournament, they continue to look ahead after each victory. “We definitely have bigger goals,” said Coach Gray. “Obviously you always take it one game at a time and any time you get to punch your ticket to that District Championship, because a lot of schools all over the state of Ohio are not able to do that, you feel appreciative.”
Moving forward on that journey one game at a time, the Tri-Village Lady Patriots are back in action on Saturday morning in Troy, OH. They square off for the District Championship against Fayetteville-Perry at 11:00 AM.
FG 3P FTM FTA TP
Rylee Sagester 0 3 3 4 12
Sydnee DeLong 1 3 0 0 11Morgan Hunt 4 0 3 5 11
Torie Richards 4 4 0 0 20
Bella Black 0 2 2 2 8
Kynnedi Hager 4 0 3 4 11
Total 13 12 11 15 73
Tri-County North Panthers
FG 3P FTM FTA TP
Leinani Garcia 0 3 0 0 9
Bella Cherry 0 0 3 4 3
Rilee Terry 0 0 4 5 4
Nicole Lefeld 1 0 0 0 2
Hannah Webster 2 0 1 2 5
Total 3 3 8 11 23
1st 2nd 3rd 4th
Tri-Village 24 24 20 5 73
Tri-County North 2 6 12 3 23