Tri-Village wins fourth straight District Championship

The Tri-Village boys basketball team defeated Summit Country Day 49-46 to win a District Championship.

The Tri-Village boys basketball team defeated Summit Country Day 49-46 to win a District Championship. (Dale Barger photo)

DAYTON – The Tri-Village boys basketball team hangs tough down the stretch to defeat Summit County Day 49-46 to secure their 4th straight district title and 2nd DIII title in the last two years.

They had to survive a late rally including a 4-point play that allowed the Knights to close the gap from 45-39 to 45-43 at the 1:00 minute mark as they refused to go away.

The Patriots lean on Trey Sagester who made 4 free throws late to secure the win 49-46 but it wasn’t easy and almost difficult to watch during the last few minutes of the game.

After Summit jumped ahead 8-4 – the Patriots finally settled in and began executing their offense going on a 10-0 run from the middle of the 1st quarter to the 7:00 minute mark of the 2nd, before Summit connected on a triple to make the score 14-11.

In the run Trey Sagester scored 8 points and had 13 by the end of the first half.

Trey Sagester had the hot hand scoring 28 points for the Patriots guiding them to a District Title. (Dale Barger photo)

Tri-Village got back-to-back scoring from Tanner Printz to push the lead out to 18-11 but Summit inched back scoring five points before a floater from Sagester followed by another triple made it 23-16 at 2:47.

Summit closed hard aided by a few turnovers to trail 23-22 at the break.

Patriots coach Josh Sagester was pleased with their defense but a little disappointed in the way the first half ended allowing the Knights to close the half strong.

Senior Tanner Printz scored 10 points and played strong out front guiding the offense the Patriots. (Dale Barger photo)

“You’re trying to take them (Summit) out of things that they’re trying to get accomplished. And I thought in the first half honestly guys our half-court defense was good. It was live ball turnovers leading to direct baskets and we talked about it in the locker room,” Sagester said on the evaporating lead at the end of the 1st half.

The Patriots clearly undersized in the game facing two kids 6-7 and another 6-5 would have to endure their physicality and size for another half and with their outside shots not falling they would try to get to the rim to contend with the size of the Knights.

The smallest guy on the court Reed Wehr scored in the paint amongst the trees on an inbounds play and the Patriots got scoring from Printz and Sagester to lead 32-28 heading into the final stanza.

Senior Reed Wehr undersized had to battle all night, had an impressive block and score inside for the PATS. (Dale Barger photo)

The physicality ramped up even more in the 4th period as Sagester had to endure someone attached to his hip and holding him anywhere he went.  The guards had to be strong with the ball with arm bars in their sides and chest, at times two hands were impeding their progress, but the Patriots worked hard and by 3:00 minutes they held a 43-36 lead on Noah Finkbine lay-up.

Noah Finkbine had a big game tying block and lay-up late in the game for TV. (Dale Barger photo)

With the Patriots seemingly in control and holding a 45-39 lead with1:00 minute to go, things would get interesting.

Summit was looking for a quick score and threw up a long three-pointer with two TV defenders in front him, after the ball rolled around and dropped in the Patriots were whistled for a foul that turned into a huge 4-point play drawing the Knights to within a bucket 45-43.

“They make the four-point play, of course, we’ve got to watch the film, but we really weren’t supposed to help ball side we knew they wanted to penetrate all night and create for others. And you know, a couple of times we got caught with our hand in the cookie jar, watching the ball and not staying attached on both sides,” Sagester stated on the play.

But despite that the Patriots felt good about trying to close out the game but on the ensuing inbounds Trey Sagester was ridden up the line, then knocked to the ground and no foul giving the Knights the ball back.

Senior Braden Keating worked hard all night on defense and would battle all night. (Dale Barger photo)

The Patriots held strong as Noah Finkbine swatted the tying shot attempt which then led to a break away for Reed Wehr for a left-handed lay-up pushing the lead to 47-43 with 30 seconds left.

8 seconds later Summit connected on their 7th triple of the night closing within a point 47-46 with 22 seconds to play.

It would take Tri-Village three attempts to get the ball inbounds as Summit did everything they could to get the ball back.  On their third attempt they fouled Sagester and if you’re a Patriot fan that’s who you want going to the line.

Sagester nailed both of them capping off a solid performance going 10-14 from the field, 4-of-5 beyond the arch and 4-4 from the free throw line for 28 points.

Now the Patriots needed to get stop a stop and not give up a foul or 3-ball.  Summit got their shot off and had a second chance, but the buzzer sounded before they could fire it up again and TV would survive the last-minute charge of the Knights for a 49-46 win giving them a 4th consecutive District Championship.

Kasyn Hollinger gave the Pats some key minutes in the game vs Summit. (Dale Barger photo)

“I thought our kids fought really hard tonight Summit Country Day is a pretty good basketball team, guys with a lot of athleticisms, a lot of length and when they make perimeter shots like they did tonight they are hard to beat.  But, you know, our kids are just resilient, and I think our tradition kind of comes out in our kids who have a “refuse to lose” attitude and do whatever it takes,” Josh Sagester explained.

The kids are resilient but coach Sagester himself is resilient as well, considering in his 16th season his teams have won 8 Districts Championship.

“You know, a lot of people do this a long time and, and I’m fortunate enough to win a district championship I told my dad when I was driving here I’ve been doing this a long time and I just keep telling myself if you can just get one more,” Sagester smiled.

Tri-Village seniors Jayden Hollinger, Tanner Printz, Braden Keating and Reed Wehr raise the 2024 District Championship for the 24-2 Tri-Village Patriots. (Dale Barger photo)

“Of course, my sons on the team and that makes it even more special.  He was on the team last year but played spot minutes, he was a bigger force tonight and continues to get better … but he’s got really good teammates and they found him in good spots and fortunately for us the ball was going in the hole when it left his hand,” Sagester praised.

In the game Sagester was the only Patriot to score from beyond the arch but the smaller Patriots outscored the larger Knights in the paint 26-16.

Senior Jayden Hollinger found himself at 6’3″ battling two 6-7 guys in the paint all night. (Dale Barger photo)

“It wasn’t a typical night for us,” Sagester said.

“We’ve got a couple other guys who are very capable, unfortunately tonight they didn’t find the bottom of the net. We know Tanner and Braden if given opportunities in big games they will come through for us,” Sagester concluded.

Well that big game is coming as the Patriots advance to the DIII Regional Semi-Final game on Wednesday March 13th, 6pm at Kettering Trent Arena where they will get Preble Shawnee who defeated Williamsburg 61-52 in the night cap to set the stage for a WOAC rematch.

Patriot pride and spirit was displayed on the University of Dayton Arena floor. (Dale Barger photo)