NEW MADISON – The Patriots won the WOAC league championship for the 2nd year in a row and went on to record a perfect 30-0 season winning the school’s first ever girls basketball state championship last year.
The Patriots graduated three 4-year players Rylee Sagester, Morgan Hunt and Tori Richards from that team … but also return two starters, Bella Black and Sydnee DeLong along with 6th man Kynnedi Hager and letter winner Kiersten Wilcox.
The Patriots will have a new look and will actually be a young team with just two seniors, five sophomores and two freshmen.
Key Players returning are:
Bella Black is a 5-10 senior forward and was the leading rebounder on last year’s team and 2nd team all-conference player. The Patriots will lean on Bella for leadership, increased scoring, rebounding and general toughness.
Kiersten Wilcox is a 5-7 senior forward; Kiersten brings key intangibles to the floor with her gritty competitiveness that the Patriots will need this year.
Sydnee DeLong is a 5-8 sophomore guard and special mention in WOAC last year. Sydnee has the ability to score and will find herself in a bigger role this year.
Kynnedi Hager is a 6-3 sophomore post player and the leading returning scorer for the Patriots and was a 2nd team all-conference player last year. Hager had some of her biggest games against better competition last year and the TV will look to her to bring that every night.
Other Key Contributors will be
Adalyn Hines is a 5-5 sophomore guard who played her freshman season at Franklin Monroe where she averaged 10ppg last year. She will have to sit the 1st 11 games of the regular season but will be eligible for the last part of the regular season and the tournament.
Tai Mize is a 5-4 sophomore point guard and will handle the starting PG duties for us this year after coming to Tri-Village from Eaton.
Heidi Bell is a 5-6 sophomore guard and will move up to the varsity after having a successful freshman year playing at the JV level.
Kenna Wilcox is a 5-7 guard/forward and she joins the varsity program after helping to lead her 8th grade team to a conference championship last year.
Reagyn Hager is a 5-8 freshman post player and also joins varsity program after helping to lead her 8th grade team to a conference championship last year.
Tri-Village is coached by Brad Gray, and he knows the Patriots will have a target on their back and will have their work cut out for them after graduating top talent.
“We obviously have some big holes to fill from last year’s graduating class, but I do think we have some good young talent in our program. The key to that is that we are VERY young with 5 sophomores and 2 freshman getting significant minutes for us. However, we do have some valuable experience returning in Senior, Bella Black, and Sophomores, Kynnedi Hager and Sydnee DeLong. All three played starters minutes for us last year and gained big-time playoff experience. We will need to lean heavily on those three to be our leaders as we enter the season. We also have varsity experience coming to us in Tai Mize and Adalynn Hines as well. Both were starters at the varsity level last year at their previous schools so they will be able to give us some additional experience. We will certainly look to be very solid with our half-court defense and also our half-court offense. We will also try to use our team speed to our advantage in the transition game. I think this is a team that can still contend for a WOAC title and also a District Title if things go well for us,” Gray stated.
Gray believes that the Patriots can contend for a title but there will be some stiff competition from Mississinawa Valley, Arcanum and Dixie.
“I think we have some really good talent that can make noise in this league this year but will have to go through Mississinawa Valley who return all of their key components from last year’s team that won 20 games. Arcanum also returns their key players from last year’s team and Dixie behind the play of Sierra Brinson who was the leading scorer in our league along with some key kids from last will all pose a challenge for a title,” Gray commented.