VERSAILLES – The Tri-Village girls basketball team overcame a sluggish and low scoring affair for 3 quarters before going on an 18-2 run to defeat DII Willard in the Versailles Lady Tigers Classic.
The 12-1 Tri-Village team coming in was going to have to play with-out senior leader Bella Black who sustained an injury to her finger the night before in practice and found out hours before the game she was unable to wrap it and play and would require further evaluation.
It was evident early on they missed her presence on the floor as the Patriots got off to a very slow start and didn’t score their first basket until freshman guard Kenna Wilcox knocked down a short jumper at the 3-minute mark with TV trailing 4-2.
Sophomore point guard Tai Mize drilled a triple to complete the 1st quarter scoring with TV behind 8-5.
The offense scored 12 points in the 2nd frame as the Patriots leaned on their defense giving up just two points to take a 17-10 lead at the break.
Willard played physical and doubled and tripled Kynnedi Hager every time she touched the ball, Hager didn’t score a field goal but did have 5 points on 6 free throws. She got help from Mize and Kiersten Wilcox both with fielders and two free throws from Kenna Wilcox and one from Adalynn Hines.
Willard though had a big 3rd quarter scoring 16 points to crawl back into the game and trailed 28-26. Tri-Village coach Brad Gray knew he was going to have to generate some offense with defense in the final stanza.
Just seconds into the 4th quarter Willard tied the game at 28-28.
But things were about to change as the Patriots ratcheted up their pressure on the ball and finding a way to turn over Willard.
Hager scored on the block, followed by a steal and bucket from Mize, and seconds later a basket at the rim from Hines had the Patriots up 34-28.
Then a corner jumper from Kenna Wilcox and a short corner shot from Hines put TV up 38-30 at 4:17.
Tri-Village continued to generate offense with defense extending the lead to 44-30 on a Kenna Wilcox lay-up off a steal.
TV pounded two more inside to Hager to complete the scoring and close out the win 49-34 in what was a much closer game then the final score indicated.
“When the game was tied at 28 I felt like we weathered the storm with their run. Our defense picked up and we got the pace of the game going a little quicker and created turnovers to get some baskets in the open floor. I also felt like we started to do a better job with our penetration mid third quarter and we were able to kind of put a little pressure on them. We still didn’t really hit perimeter shots that much, but we got a couple key ones when we needed them.” Brad Gray stated after the game.
“The other key was the play of Kynnedi, I mean, she’s a patient player and I think she allows the game to start flowing a little bit and tries to figure out where she can really make her impact, that’s good sometimes … but other times we’d like to get her involved a little quicker. But that’s not just all on her, we got to find a way for our guards to get her the basketball and we started to do a better job in the second half,” Gray added.
Hager would be the high scorer in the game with 13 points and she pulled down 13 rebounds to earn the Versailles Tiger Classic “Player of the Game” award.
Tai Mize had 10 points and 4 assists, Kenna Wilcox 9 points, Adalynn Hines 7 points and 7 steals, Sydnee DeLong 5 points, Kiersten Wilcox 4 points and Reagyn Hager 1 point.
Tri-Village improves to 13-1 overall and will put their 7-0 WOAC record on the line when they travel to National Trail Thursday night.