Tri-Village Lady Patriots... A season to
CNO Photos by George Starks, Dylan Knoop, Doug Randolph, Amy Farmer and
By George Starks
NEW MADISON- At the end of the 2011 basketball season, Tri-Village
coach Brad Gray and his team vowed that 2012 was not going to end the
For two straight years, the Lady Patriots had their season cut short in
the regional finals. Both times, it was Ft. Loramie doing the honors.
This year, the Lady Redskins were the only thing standing between the
Patriots and that elusive trip to the state final four. It was a year
the Patriots would not be denied.
It all started in November, the day after Thanksgiving and Patriot fans
were geared up for a season that would fulfill dreams. It was opening
night of the annual Bill Burkett Girls Basketball Tournament at
Tri-Village and the 2011-12 season got started with a thumping of
Arcanum and a 79-19 final.
The Lady Trojans were the first step in a season that had three goals
Goal 1: Win the Burkett. After the opening night win, Tri-Village would
face its arch rival, Franklin Monroe. The Jets had topped Ansonia in
the tournament opener and wanted nothing more than to pull the rug from
underneath the Patriots feet. That didn’t happen as the Patriots
recorded a 78-40 win over the Jets to claim the championship trophy.
Goal 2: To run the gauntlet in the Cross County Conference and win the
CCC title outright.
After the Burkett was tucked away, Tri-Village went on a five game
winning streak and was 3-0 in the Conference, beating up on National
Trail, Bethel and Covington. Then came the game that would determine
the CCC title and everyone knew it would come down to a fight with
The Patriots had their problems with the Vikings’ big girls but in the
end, Miami East escaped with a 46-41 victory. If the kids from Casstown
were to lose the crown, it would take a miracle.
That never happened as Miami East remained undefeated in the conference
to win it all. It would be a loss Gray would blame on himself, taking
all responsibility for. Goal two would not be realized.
With eight games in the books and a 7-1 record, the Patriots would go
undefeated the rest of the way, having pity on no one, winning the next
12 games by reasonably huge margins.
Then came the OHSAA tournament and the third goal... Getting to state.
The road to the Final Four would start with a thrashing of Jefferson,
90-31, in a game Gary was not pleased with, stating his girls were not
The win took the Pats into a second round game with CCC foe, Bethel. In
a game played way early in the season, the Patriots rolled to a
commanding 61-11 win. In the sectional semi-final, the Patriots had
little problem with the Bees, winning big 73-34.
Bradford was next on the list for the Patriots but the young Lady
Roaders were derailed, 62-25.
Facing no real competition, Tri-Village hit the district title game on
a roll and it was a date with Dayton Miami Valley in Tipp City as the
scene had shifted from Brookville. The Lady Rams posed little threat,
although had provided the Patriots with the best game of the tournament.
In the end, the Pats advanced to the regional semi’s with a 56-42
victory over the Rams.
The scene was a joyous one as Tri-Village took home district gold and
those coveted district nets.
“We are glad to get here but we have a long way to go if we want to
accomplish our goals,” Gray said after the district win over Miami
Valley. “We can’t lose focus here. We have bigger fish to fry.”
The next fish in the pond was no guppy, it was a whale and that fish
was called New Knoxville. At that point it was no secret. If the
Patriots wanted to go to Columbus, beating one of the best team in the
Midwestern Athletic Conference (MAC) was going to be the biggest
The Lady Rangers had the Patriots on the ropes and Tri-Village was
forced to fight. The fight ended with two heavyweights giving it all
they had before the red, white and blue claimed a 45-43 win in overtime.
Now came the game that would decide who went on and who went home. Ft.
What should have been a dog fight was anything but that. The Patriots
blistered the nets in the first half, shooting 80 percent from the
floor and a 20 point halftime lead. That lead would be more than enough
as Tri-Village would blast Ft-Loramie by 21, 69-48.
The dream had come true. Tri-Village and its lone senior, Kayla Linkous
was going to Columbus and play for state gold.
The dream that had been, was true. The Patriots were state-bound and a
date with Berlin Hiland was on the docket.
With freshman Echo Brown being on the shelf after the first quarter,
the Patriots were trailing by a 12-10 score. The loss of Brown would
soon be realized. In a game very few had given the Patriots much of a
chance in, Tri-Village trailed 28-23 at the break and 41-33 after three.
Then the Patriots would show the Hawks what true Patriot pride was all
about. Mounting a huge comeback, Tri-Village started to march.
With 1:15 remaining, the Patriots had cut the eight point lead down to
two at 47-45 off two made foul shots by Linkous. That was as good as it
would get as the Patriots’ gallant fight was over, falling to the
A dream season was over but Gray was one proud coach.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better group,” said Gray with Linkous on
his right and Shaye Thomas on his left. “I love these kids. They are
all like family to me. The only people I live more is my wife and
children. We lived a dream that only four teams lived. We are one of
the best in the state.”
All season, Grey said his team was not just a one trick pony. Meaning,
it was not all on the shoulders of Linkous.
Linkous will be heading to Cedarville in the fall but Gray will have
the rest of his state final four team back: Shaye Thomas, Teah
Richards, Echo Brown, Liz Collins, Raya Mikesell, Krystal Falknor,
Sarah Burns, Lexi Brunner, Heather Ferris and a player to be named
later, Tri-Village should be loaded again.
2012-13... Lookout, HERE COMES THE PATRIOTS!
To See CNO's Special Edition Sports Home Page, click here
To Read “The Patriots Community” and see the photo set, click here
To Read “Patriots in Action” and see the photo set, click here
To Read “The Road to Columbus, Part 1” and see the photo set, click here
To Read “The Road to Columbus, Part 2” and see the photo set, click here