the bistro off broadway
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
Patriots escape 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 Friday.

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 runners.

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 erupted.

“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 play.

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 second mark.

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
Evan Hawthorn of Bethel

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