Gaining a psychological edge in sports could be described as reappraising a situation to turn a negative into a positive and, thus, helping promote a challenge and improve performance.
This definition seems a little overstated, right?
Well, there’s no way the Tri-Village (25-2) and Cincinnati Country Day (20-5) girls basketball players and coaches are analyzing deeply most of the interesting mental aspects leading up to Saturday’s headliner, a regional final showdown at Vandalia-Butler at 1 p.m..
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It’s only natural, however, to consider the significance of that early season clash between the two clubs at New Madison on November 20. The Indians bolted to a 16-point lead in the first half over the Patriots, as sharpshooter Gracie Barns poured in three straight from long distance, and six in all, in route to a 26-point performance. Country Day hung on to win, 56-54.
Are the Patriots now supercharged to gain revenge? Are the Indians feeling very confident they have the Pats number?
And give thought to the following.
Country Day had four days after edging Russia, 47-42, in the district title game to prepare for Thursday’s regional semi-final with Fort Loramie. The Indians executed a plan that worked to perfection in route to a convincing seven-point victory.
Meanwhile, the Patriots, the number two ranked D-IV girls team in Ohio behind the poll-winning Redskins, have been lickin’ their chops for a year. That’s right. Fort Loramie was on the Tri-Village radar immediately after the Shelby County program bounced the Patriots from the tourney in last year’s regional final, 61-37.
Instead, the Patriots now have to re-adjust their sights and focus on a band of fired up Indians, who are anxious to go back-to-back and whip favored Tri-Village after upsetting the Redskins.
So, this leads to a logical new question. Does Tri-Village have the overwhelming drive to take down Country Day that matches the desire it had to put a thumping on Fort Loramie?
For sure, the Patriots are eager to play this afternoon for a berth in the state tournament at the University of Dayton Arena next Friday. Country Day would like nothing better than to make the short jaunt up I-75 to UD, too.
But will the Indians suffer through a little hangover following the celebratory triumph over Fort Loramie? A target was on the Redskins’ back and the Indians nailed it. So does the Cincinnati team rest on its laurels?
This off-the-court media talk is not likely a game-decider today. Or, at least, we hope not. The two programs have too many playmakers who will determine the outcome in different ways.
While Barns’ three-point shooting for the Indians has been a little off lately, she has gotten to the free throw line consistently, sinking 12 of 15 in the district and regional tourney contests.
While Tri-Village’s Morgan Hunt had no first period field goals versus Danville in the regional semi, she dished out seven assists in the game’s first ten minutes.
While Jada Moorman for Country Day played two and one-half quarters against Fort Loramie without scoring, she got seven deflections and recorded four steals.
While the Pats’ Rylee Sagester, a much publicized shooter from extremely long range, was blanketed on the arc most of Thursday night, she varied her game by out-hustling Danville defenders to the rim for a couple swift driving layups.
Yes, 6-2 Megan Downing drained 17 points in close for Tri-Village. And, yes, the three Zimmerman girls— Sarah, Megan and Elizabeth— combined for 26 and scored in every quarter for Country Day on Thursday.
And, furthermore, the much talked-about “psychological edges” heading into this game can’t swish shots, snare rebounds, and deliver assists. Today’s players will continue to get the job done and excel.
Tri-Village Coach Brad Gray said it best back in December during the week before his team’s home game with Russia.
He noted his squad was caught off guard in the season opener by Country Day’s explosive start, fine shooting exhibition and skilled players. He also said, at the time, that he’d like to play the Indians again real soon.
Tri-Village will find out this afternoon if three months’ time was worth the wait.
What do you think?
Sounds like a psychological edge.