Tri-Village senior Tyler VanWinkle drives around Bethel sophomore Tyler
Terry on the baseline.
VanWinkle scored 21 for the Patriots as T-V won
the CCC game, 53-51.
CNO Photos by Dylan Knoop
in a thriller at home
T-V gets good news after the win
By George Starks
NEW MADISON- Christmas came extremely early in 2016 for Tri-Village
It was just over a week ago when the Patriots traveled to Miami East
and fell to the Vikings, 36-29 in Cross County Conference play.
After that loss, the Vikings remained undefeated in the conference
while the Patriots were left sitting in second a game behind the front
When the buzzer sounded at The Battleground, the Patriots had pulled
off a huge come from behind, 53-51 victory over Bethel.
At that point, there was a major announcement.
“Final score from Miami East,” said the public address man. “Miami
East-50, Mississinawa Valley-59.”
Upon hearing the news, the hands of Patriots coach became clinched
fists and were raised in the air in a victory formation and fans
“That was a gift,” said Sagester. “We didn’t take care of business
against them and winning the league title was far from our minds and
now, we get a second chance.”
The loss by the Vikes to the Blackhawks put the Patriots back into a
first place tie in the conference with only one conference game left to
That will be Tuesday night at Ansonia.
“It’s better to be lucky that it is to be good. Now we play Ansonia on
the road and we got to be ready to play there,” Sagester added.
If getting lucky with the gift from Mississinawa Valley, the Lady Luck
was smiling on the Patriots on this night.
Trailing 27-25 at the break, the Patriots were never able to gain
control of the game in the opening 16 minutes as Bethel continuously
stuck it to the home team.
In the third, the Patriots came out looking like a defending state
champion should look like.
Playing team basketball, T-V went on a 10-2 run to open up a nice 35-29
lead with 4:43 left in the frame as the Patriots attack was being led
by Gavin Richards, Trace Couch, VanWinkle and Knox Morris.
Bethel coach Brett Kopp had seen enough and called for time.
Bethel went on a run of its own and with 2:16 remaining in the quarter,
Bethel was holding a 38-35 lead and once again was back in control.
Trailing 38-36 with one quarter remaining, the Pats came out and fell
behind 42-38 early in the frame.
That’s when the lights were turned on again and the Patriots were home.
Tri-Village chipped away and with 2:12 left in regulation, VanWinkle
drained a trey giving the Patriots a 48-46 advantage.
Then at the 1:16 mark of the frame, Richards found his stroke from the
charity stripe, hitting two big free throws for a 50-46 advantage.
The Patriots held a 53-48 lead after VanWinkle hit two from the line
with 32.9 seconds remaining
The never say die Bees would not go away as freshman Caleb South nailed
a trey with 24.5 show, cutting the lead to one at 52-51.
Richards would tack on another point with a charity toss at the 22.7
Then came the defensive play of the game as VanWinkle knocked down an
inbounds pass and stole the ball. The TV point guard got the ball to
Boyter who was fouled with 2.2 seconds remaining.
Boyter missed both attempts but the 53-51 final score was intact as the
Bees hurled up a long distance three that missed.
“It was nice to see the seniors step up in the clutch,” said Sagester.
“Gavin hit some big free throws. He’s extremely talented and athletic.
In the first half, we were kind of a two man show but we got him going
in the second half. He was able to help Tyler and Trace and we came
away with a huge win.”
In the end, it was a narrow escape for the Patriots.
“We escaped,” admitted Sagester. “You’re not going to play your best
every night. In the end, we played inspired and we played tough. At
times, they (Bethel) imposed their will on us but we were able to make
the big plays down the stretch. I always said that good teams find a
way to win and tonight, we did.”
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Patriot senior Brett Boyter goes strong to the hoop against senior
Hawthorn of Bethel