Versailles junior Justin Ahrens delivered 26 points for the Tigers
Tri-Village. The Tigers prevailed 61-56 over the
Patriots in The Flyin' to the Hoop Invitational
Monday at Trent Arena
in Kettering. CNO File Photo
much for Patriots
By George Starks
KETTERING- When Tri-Village and Versailles hooked up at the annual Jets
Holiday Tournament, it was usually a barn burner.
The last time these two met at The Hangar, it was 2008 and it was for
the championship of the tournament.
That was then and in 2017, the two teams laced up the shoes for what
would prove to be another tough battle.
In the end, it was Travis Swank and the Versailles Tigers coming out on
top 61-56 in the opening game of the final day of the Flyin’ to the
Hoop invitational at Trent Arena in Kettering.
What is often a strong suite for the Tigers (12-1) nearly became
Versailles shot a poultry 13-27 from the line (48 percent).
“Maybe it’s the morning hours. I don’t know what was going on,”
said Swank. “Our free throwstonight were atrocious. Knock those down
and maybe it’s not as close as what it needed to be there at the end
but Tri-Village is a good team. I can’t take anything away from them.”
Versailles jumped out to the early 11-2 lead and was looking to blow
the Patriots right out of the Arena.
A quick timeout by Sagester to calm the troops down brought out a more
relaxed bunch that was ready to play ball.
Led by seniors Trace Couch (24 points) and Gavin Richards (19) the
Patriots were able to climb back into the game, trailing 18-10 after
“The Couch kid had a great game tonight,” Swank said. “We knew he was
going to be a load. I thought we handled the Richards kid for the most
part pretty well, though. We tried to take one of them away. You can’t
take both of them I feel like. If you take away one you have a better
chance at winning a ball game.”
The second quarter brought out the best in both teams as junior Justin
Ahrens (26) and Keaton McEldowney (13) took control for Versailles
while the Patriots were content to stay the course and chip away at the
eight point deficit, only to trail at the break, 31-27.
“He (McEldowney) hit some big shots for us,” said Swank. “He hit
another big shot in the second half as well. He came in ready to play.
We talk about seems like every time we’ve got different guys that step
up to the plate and take their hacks as a baseball analogy goes. It was
Keaton’s turn today, and he did his job, what he’s supposed to, and we
needed him today in order to get the W.”
Despite trailing by as much as a dozen points in the second half, the
Patriots never lost sight of their goal…pulling off the upset of the
state ranked Tigers.
Both teams offense seemed disoriented in the third as the Tigers held a
not so impressive 44-36 lead with eight minutes left in the game.
“I’m really proud of my kids,” Tri-Village coach Josh Sagester
said. “Obviously there are no moral victories in our locker room. We’re
ready to get back to work tomorrow.”
“This was like a MAC game,” Swank admitted. “This team is that good.The
second half it felt like we kept the ball alive a lot and had our
opportunities and kind of willed our way a little bit more to the
basket,” Swank said. “You need those when free throws aren’t falling
and you’re not getting easy ones to go in. You need to get those
“We had our chances,” admitted Sagester. “We just didn’t take advantage
Versailles will travel to Ft. Recovery on Friday while the Patriots
will entertain Tri-County North Friday and Winchester on Saturday.