Yes, the Tri-Village girls basketball team has the Ms. Basketball Ohio runner-up Rylee Sagester on their team. Yes, she is a really nice player.
The Tri-Village scoring punch doesn’t end with Sagester though.
In the Div. IV state semi-final on March 10 from Dayton University, Tri-Village used a balanced scoring attack from all angles to knock Hiland from the state tournament by a score of 51-34.
Sagester had a game-high 22 points for the Patriots, but she brought the whole band with her. Senior Torie Richards scored eight points for the Patriots, Morgan Hunt had seven and Bella Black also had seven.
That Tri-Village balanced scoring was the Hawks’ kryptonite.
Hiland was led in scoring by sophomore post Joplin Yoder who banked 15 points for the Hawks. Junior Ashley Mullet added 11 points and Mallory Stutzman had four.
Tri-Village remains unbeaten with a 29-0 record and now head to the Div. IV title game going for the perfect season of 30-0. They’d be the girls team do accomplish a 30-0 season since the expansions of regular season games from 20 to 22. The Patriots will now go toe-to-toe Toledo Christian in the state final for all the marbles. Toledo Christian won convincingly in their state semi-final, sending Springfield home by a score of 57-29.
Lick your finger and turn the pages back a bit to this January’s Classic in the Country. At the Classic, Tri-Village squared off against Toledo Christian on Jan. 16. The Patriots were the victors in The Reese Center, taking down Toledo Christian 50-35. The rematch will be played at 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 11 in Dayton.
\\ BY THE QUARTER \\
The Hawks led early in the state-semi final 3-2, but a layup by the Patriots’ Black and Sagester’s first triple of the game put Tri-Village back up 7-3. The Patriots would never lose the lead after regaining it early in the first period. The Sagester 3-pointer was the first of four she made Thursday night against the Hawks.
Tri-Village led after the first quarter 14-10 thanks again to the balanced scoring. The Patriots had five different scorers in the first quarter.
With 2:10 left in the second quarter Hunt’s old fashion three point play gave Tri-Village their largest lead of the game at 27-17. Sagester followed up Hunt’s and one with a step-back three and the Patriots pushed their lead out to 30-17.
Yoder tripled from the top of the key late in the second quarter to cut it to an eight point lead (30-22), but Sagester hit her fourth three and third of the second quarter to send the Patriots into the break up 33-22.
The Tri-Village lead jolted out to 39-26 midway through third quarter when Black hit a free throw giving the Patriots their largest lead of the game.
Hiland would battle back to get it to an eight point deficit midway through the third. Stutzman hit her only 3-ball that tickled the front of the iron and then fell through and Yoder followed that up with a short jump hook in the paint. With the score now 39-31 it seemed as thought the Hawks might have enough grit to make it interesting.
The Patriots however would end the third on a 6-1 run and lead 45-32 heading into the fourth.
Mullet scored the first basket of the fourth quarter for Hiland, but it would be their only basket for the rest of the game. Tri-Village then put on quite the display of bleeding the clock chunks at a time with wizardly passing around the top of the arc and putting the game away. There were only six points scored in the final quarter.
\\ THE HAWKS \\
The Hawks finish the season with a 22-7 record and a state record 19th trip to the state final four. Thursday’s state semi-final loss ended an awesome 14-game winning streak that included impressive wins over West Holmes, Waynedale, Midview, the district final win over River and both their regional tournament wins.
Sophomore Joplin Yoder really shined in the loss to Tri-Village scoring both inside and outside, and off the dribble. Her 15 points and key baskets during the state semi-final kept the Hiland faithful’s hopes of playing the state final alive.