senior Kayla Linkous drives to the bucket in the Lady
Patriots 45-43 overtime
victory over New Knoxville Thursday at Tipp
City. Linkous had 23 points in the game and
the Patriots will play
Saturday at 7:30 for the regional title at Tipp City.
CNO Photo by Dale
Regional final next
By Dale Barger
Tipp City- In a game that featured six lead changes and nine ties
Tri-Village survived to play another day in a 45-43-overtime thriller
against New Knoxville in the Regional Semi-Finals at Tipp City High
Just seconds into the contest Teha Richards stole the ball and scored a
lay-up, it was another 7 minutes before the PATS scored again as the
Rangers built a small 6-2 lead.
Tri-Village struggled to make shots in the opening frame as New
Knoxville surrounded semior Kayla Linkous (KJ) with two or three 6’
defenders of their own inside. Linkous finally scored a fielder and two
free throws in the final minute…but the Patriots trailed 10-6 at the
end of opening quarter.
“We got off to a rocky start,” said Coach Brad Gray. “It was totally
opposite of what I expected…as the more experienced team I thought we
would make shots and set the tone, that didn’t happen.”
Krystal Falknor opened the second quarter with a jumper to get within
two…but the Rangers ran off six straight points on short baseline shots
to forge a 16-8 lead and minutes later went up 18-10, prompting a
Tri-Village then went on a 9-0 run starting with a Shaye Thomas lay-up,
followed by a deuce from KJ, a fielder by Heather Ferris then capped by
a trey from Lexi Bruner as Tri-Village regained the lead 19-18 with 40
seconds in the half.
Thomas would send T-V to the locker room up 21-19 to end the half.
“Kayla and Shaye really stepped up in the second quarter to get us back
into the game,” said coach Gray. “The game could have gotten away from
us but they showed their experience and brought us back.”
After the break, Linkous went to work inside, much of it from hard work
on the offensive glass as she scored the first seven points…but TV
still trailed 31-28 at the 3:30 mark. Krystal Falknor connected on a
big three-pointer tying the game at 31…but the Rangers ended the frame
In the fourth quarter, both teams relied on defense, as both teams
struggled to make baskets.
Linkous scored six points and Falknor another jumper… but the Rangers
answered every basket as the contest was still not settled going to
overtime at 39-39.
The slugfest continued in the overtime period. Falknor opened with her
3rd timely jumper, followed by two Linkous free throws and Tri-Village
looked like they may have landed enough blows to gain the decision.
Back came the Rangers on a drive to the basket by Haley Horstman, and
then a stick back by Paige Lehman to knot it again 43-43 with 50
seconds to play.
With 23 seconds to play Shaye Thomas sank two free throws to give the
PATS a 45-43 lead…but even then New Knoxville had a couple of
opportunities to tie it up.
Tri-Village weathered the final seconds and although they never really
landed a knock-out punch, they endured, surviving to play another day…
and ultimately that’s what its all about.
“I’m real proud of our kids tonight said coach Gray. They showed
determination and a strong will to win and that’s what we expected.”
“Our ultimate goal all year long has been get to Columbus and play in
the State Finals, and who knows what will happen once we get there. We
aren’t satisfied just being in the Regionals and these kids are
determined,” said Gray.
“I can’t say enough about KJ and how she battled tonight,” Gray added.
“This may be the hardest I’ve ever seen her work, she went hard to the
glass working for everything she got tonight.”
“Shaye really showed why she is so valuable to this team she willed us
in the second quarter and really handled their pressure well tonight,”
“Krystal got off to a slow start, she came up with some timely shots
for us in the second half and in overtime. In order for us to be
successful we need her to do that,” commented Gray.
“Teha drew the assignment of slowing down Haley Horstman, the MAC
Player of the Year and a tremendous point guard,” said Gray. “It
affected her game offensively and you really can’t place a value on her
contribution tonight as she slowed her down with just 10 points and
stopped her from getting into the lane and distributing the ball.”
Gray said, “we are now in position to realize our dream and standing in
our way is Fort Loramie. They know us and we know them as we prepare to
play them a third straight year in the Regional Finals.”
“It’s time for us to go out a make that dream a reality,” concluded
KJ led the Patriots on the night with 23 hard earned points on 7 field
goals and 9-12 free throws. Falknor scored nine points, seven in the
second half in the win.
Tri-Village will play in the regional final at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at
Tipp City High School.