coaches attend to Echo Brown at the end of the first quarter.
Brown suffered an ankle
injury, taking her out of action for the rest
of the game. Tri-Village coach Brad Gray said it
was a devastating loss
for the team. CNO Photos by Doug Randolph
swoop on Patriots parade
Tri-Village suffers heartbreaker at state
By George Starks
CNO Sports Editor
COLUMBUS- Tears fell Thursday in Columbus. Tri-Village senior Kayla
Linkous sobbed uncontrollably.
Ten Lady Patriots walked off the floor at Columbus Thursday and all 10
showed the look of a team that fell short of glory.
If the looks on the players’ faces wasn’t enough, the look on the face
of head coach Brad Gray was. There are a ton of words that could
describe the scene but none would be fitting.
The run the Lady Patriots had made to obtaining state gold fell one
game short Thursday as the Patriots fell victim to the Berlin Hiland
Lady Hawks, 53-47.
“You have to give Hiland a lot of credit,” said Gray in the postgame
press conference. “They came in and shot well early and rebounded the
ball which we knew was a major strength of theirs.”
In the first half, the Hawks shot 38.5 percent from the field and had
pulled down 11 rebounds in the first 16 minutes off the offensive glass
“We felt going into the game that if we could keep them off the
offensive glass, we would have a great chance of winning,” Grey said.
“Unfortunately, early we were able to do that. I thought we did a
better job in the second half.”
All season long, Gray has said his team did not rely on just one person.
With the accolades received by Linkous through the season, the
Southwest District Player of the Year had something happen to her that
no team had done but only tried to do. Linkous was held scoreless in
the first half.
Despite that, the Patriots trailed 28-23 at the break. In that first 16
minutes, Linkous had only four touches.
“We have 10 players on this team that can step up at any time and get
the job done,” Grey said. “Today, these kids did exactly that. They all
Most players like Linkous would have been frustrated with the limited
touches and no scoring in the first half. Not Linkous.
“It wasn’t frustrating because I know my team will step up,” said a
very emotional Linkous said. “Our goal was to be here and win it all.
That’s the frustrating part.”
When push came to shove in the fourth quarter, the Patriots were forced
to start fouling. Trailing 46-38 with 3:20 remaining things were
“It was a necessity to do that,” Gray remarked. “We knew they were
going to spread five out and keep running a little weave action and
make us chase them around. We didn’t want to expend a lot of energy
chasing them around so we thought our best option was to foul them and
pray they missed free throws.”
The plan of attack nearly worked.
In the final three minutes, the Hawks missed the front end of three one
and one situations and hit only one shot of a two shot foul, all in a
stretch of just over two minutes. In that time frame, the Patriots had
closed the gap 47-43. In the final 1:12, the Hawks were able to
remember how to hit from the line, sinking five of six shots.
“We had it down to one possession there at the end and couldn’t catch a
break,” Gray said referring to the 46-43 score with 2:08 remaining.
No one has to tell Gray the importance of players.
Gray dressed 10 players the whole year and then freshman Echo Brown
went down with an ankle injury at the end of the first quarter.
“That was a bigger issue for us than anything,” sad Gray. “When she
went down, that hurt because we always had one kid on the bench that
could come in and relieve other players when they needed a breather.
When she went down, that was pretty devastating.”
The 25-2 record says a lot for the Patriots season but it was the
second loss that brought the curtain down on a season of promise and
hope for Tri-Village.
“In her final game as a Lady Patriot, Linkous scored 19 points and
recorded 10 rebounds.
senior Kayla Linkous took a lot of abuse Thursday against
Held scoreless in the first half, Linkous finished with
19 points and 10 rebounds.