TROY — Russia kept up with Tri-Village for three quarters of a Division IV district final on Saturday, but an eight-minute cold stretch in the second half doomed its effort.
The Patriots scored 15 unanswered points in the third and fourth quarters to jump start a 53-42 win. It’s the program’s second consecutive district title.
The Raiders lost to Tri-Village 40-22 in a home nonconference game on Jan. 22 but scored more points in the first half on Saturday, when they shot 13 for 25 (52 percent) from the field. They couldn’t keep the hot shooting up in the second half, though, as they shot 5 for 19 (26.3 percent).
“Our kids played hard; I can’t complain about that,” Russia coach Andy Timmerman said. “They’ve played hard, played hard, played hard every day this year. That’s something you can’t coach — you can’t coach effort. They’ve brought that day in and day out.”
Russia, which has won two district titles since 2014 and advanced to district finals two other times, went cold from the field in the third and fourth quarters. After Jenna Cordonnier made a basket with 5:58 left in the third, the Raiders didn’t score again until Cordonnier made a basket with 5:33 left in the fourth.
“They did a lot better job of putting pressure on us (in the second half),” Timmerman said. “When we did get good looks, they just didn’t fall. There were several different looks that we got, but buckets just didn’t go in like they did in the first half. We got in a hurry there in the fourth quarter and were moving quicker than we should have and turned the ball over a lot more.”
Cordonnier’s third quarter basket put the Raiders up 30-28. Lissa Siler followed with a 3-pointer from the left wing with 5:37 left in the third, then Emma Printz made two free throws and two baskets and Maddie Downing added a pair of free throws to give the Patriots a 39-30 lead by the end of the third.
Trisa Porter opened the fourth with a 3-pointer from the right wing, and Downing made a shot off the glass to finish the 15-0 run and put Tri-Village up 44-30. The Raiders came no closer than nine points the rest of the game.
Siler led Tri-Village with 20 points while Porter scored 16 and Printz scored 11. The Patriots shot 18 for 44 (40.9 percent) from the field and outrebounded Russia 27-25.
Jenna Cordonnier led Russia with 12 points while Ashley Scott scored nine and Laurissa Poling scored eight. Poling led the team with eight rebounds.
Russia, which won a district title last year, finishes 20-6.
“I’m very happy,” Timmerman said of the season. “I told them (in the locker room) that they’re setting the bar really high for Russia basketball now.”
The Raiders will lose two players to graduation in senior guards Cameo Wilson and Whitney Pleiman.
“They’ve been very strong leaders for us,” Timmerman said. “Leading by example, and vocally leading. Whitney always sets the tone up top and Cameo is always communicating on the backside. Both of them are going to be tremendously missed. They kept us together this year.
“… I know a lot of people look at points and those type of stats, but in the locker room and being leaders, that’s what they were.”
Russia will return most of its roster, including Cordonnier and Poling, who were the team’s leading scorers. Poling averaged 10.8 points and 8.2 rebounds per game and Cordonnier averaged 9.7 points and 4.5 rebounds.
Poling and Wilson hit back-to-back baskets late in the first quarter to give the Raiders an 11-5 lead, but Tri-Village finished on a 6-4 run over the last two minutes to pull within 15-11.
“To their credit, they hit shots, and they didn’t hit shots the first time we played them,” Tri-Village coach Brad Gray said. “To be honest, I didn’t think they’d be capable of coming in here and hitting those perimeter shots in this environment after they couldn’t hit them at their own place in January. Give them and their staff credit, they made shots and their coaches put them in positions to make shots.”
The Raiders started the second quarter on a 6-3 run, which Shea Borchers capped off with a basket with five minutes left. Tri-Village quickly stormed back with a flurry of baskets by Siler.
Siler hit a 3-pointer with 4:32 left in the second, followed with a basket off the glass 30 seconds later and then hit a 3 from the top of the key with 3:17 left to cap off an 8-0 run that put Tri-Village up 22-21.
The teams swapped leads four times over the next two and a half minutes, but Borchers hit a mid-range jumper with 16 seconds left to tie it 28-28 at halftime.
“We knocked down some shots we didn’t knock down in the second half,” Timmerman said. “They’ve got some really good players; (Porter) and (Siler) are really good players. They did a really good job of knocking down outside shots.”
Tri-Village (21-5) will face the winner of the Minster vs. Fort Recovery district final in a regional semifinal next Thursday at Vandalia Butler’s Student Activities Center.
“We just want to play Thursday, we don’t care who we’re playing,” Gray said. “We know regardless of who we’re playing, it’s going to be a great basketball team. Both teams are well-coached, and Minster is just unbelievable on the defensive end of the floor. Very relentless, and they get after it. And they play a lot of kids, which makes it very difficult because they’ve got a lot of bodies coming after you.”