RUSSIA — Tri-Village turned in one of its best defensive performances of the year in a 40-22 win over Russia on Monday.
“We knew coming in it was going to be a methodical game,” Tri-Village coach Brad Gray said. “If you look at Russia’s scores they are holding teams to low-scoring outputs. They aren’t sprinting the ball up and down the floor, so we knew defensively we had to play solid.”
Tri-Village led 9-5 after the one quarter of play by getting four points from Maddie Downing, three from Emma Printz and 2 from Trisa Porter.
Tri-Village (14-3) showed maturity and patience on the offensive end. The Patriots went up 14-7 on a short corner jumper from Peyton Bietry for the largest lead in the first half.
Russia (13-4) battled back with Shea Borchers knocking down a 3 and a layup to cut the margin to 16-12. A free throw by Cameo Wilson nudged the Raiders closer at 16-13 with 1:30 to go in the period.
The Patriots got a big bucket from Madison Foreman to send them in at the break with an 18-14 lead.
“I thought we did a good job of getting the lead early and then maintaining it into the half,” Gray said.
Tri-Village ran its sets very well in the third frame, knocking down three triples along the way – two from Lissa Siler and one from Porter – while scoring 12 team points. The Patriots held the Raiders to five, building up a 30-19 lead.
“The way we came out in the third quarter was great, not that we were great offensively, just the way we executed our offense and took advantage of key opportunities,” Gray said.
In the final stanza with the score 32-21, Gray and the Patriots went with a three-guard front, working the ball for more than a minute before getting a good on open look, and Siler nailed it for her third 3-pointer on the night.
“Lissa hit a big time shot … I’m not sure how much time we ran off on the possession, but she gets wide open and shoots a confident shot,” Gray said. “She has been in a little bit of a funk over the last few games and is starting to find her rhythm again. We know she can make shots, and that’s what we expect out of her.”
A few minutes later Downing grabbed an offensive rebound, stuck it back in and got fouled for a 3-point play, giving TV a 37-21 lead with four minutes to go in the game.
“One of the weaker parts of our game has been our ability to rebound the ball, and I thought tonight against Russia, who is bigger than us, we did a great job of keeping them off the glass. They didn’t get a whole lot of second shots,” Gray said.
In fact, Tri-Village only allowed 3 second-chance points all night.
Defensively, the Patriots frustrated Russia by playing solid man-to-man while also mixing it in a zone from time to time.
“Sometimes we like to gamble defensively … by just being solid, not playing overly aggressive and keeping things out in front paid dividends for us tonight,” Gray said.
Coming into the game Gray was concerned 6-foot junior Laurissa Poling was going to be a matchup problem.
“Maddie Downing played well against her, and Andi Bietry was great doubling down, tying her (Poling) up for jump balls and forcing a few turnovers. They just didn’t allow her to get comfortable in the paint,” Gray added.
Poling scored one point, well below her 10-point average on the year.
When the Patriots went zone it paid dividends every time.
“We threw a different look at them with a zone in the second half, all four times we did we got a turnover, so it turned out to be a pretty good weapon for us,” Gray said.
Tri-Village was led by Siler with 11 points while Porter finished with 10. Jenna Cordonnier, Borchers and Wilson each scored five points for the Raiders.
Russia (13-4, 7-1 Shelby County Athletic League) returns to action on Thursday at Anna.
Botkins 54, Indian Lake 23
Botkins blew out Indian Lake from the start in a nonconference win on Monday in Lewistown.
The Trojans jumped out to a 14-5 lead by the end of the first quarter and led 31-13 at halftime. Botkins outscored the Lakers 9-4 in the third quarter and 14-6 in the fourth.
Sarah Bergman led Botkins with 18 points, 13 of which came in the first half. Paige Lane added 11, and six other players scored for the Trojans (9-6, 4-5 Shelby County Athletic League). Botkins made 20 field goals and 11-of-14 free-throw attempts.
Kaylee Shelton led Indian Lake (3-10) with eight points.
Botkins plays next on Thursday at home against Jackson Center.