NEW MADISON – The 2019-20 Tri-Village girls basketball team will be looking to defend their Cross County Conference Title in a league that is as strong as it’s ever been at the top. The Patriots would like to be able to extend their season play after falling in the Regional the last 3 years, twice to the Minster Wildcats who went on to win state titles.
Gone from last year’s team is senior Emma Printz who averaged 13 points a game and is now playing basketball at Bethel College, also graduating was Peyton Bietry who played a key role off the bench.
The Patriots return 4 seniors; Lissa Siler, Maddie Downing, Andi Bietry and Trisa Porter. Porter is back after missing last year due to health issues. The Patriots have plenty of experience and is looking to kick the door open to the State Tournament this year.
Here is a look at the Lady Patriots roster:
Lissa Siler is a 5-7 senior wing player who averaged 13.7 pts, 4.2 rebounds and 3.5 assists. Lissa is a scorer and has 804 points coming into this season.
Maddie Downing is a 6-1 senior poster player who averaged 12.8 pts, 9.5 rebounds. Maddie has 685 points and 479 rebounds and is looking to add to those totals this year.
Andi Bietry is a 5-4 senior point guard who averaged 3.3 pts, 3.1 rebounds and 4.4 assist per game. Andi has steered the ship for the last two years and will continue to navigate the rough waters and guide the Patriots offense again this year.
Trisa Porter is a 5-8 senior wing player who averaged 9.5 pts, 5.4 rebounds and 5.3 assist per game her sophomore season but due to health issues was unable to play last year. Trisa is a passionate performer with a deep love for the game and give the Patriots an all-around player that can do it all.
Meghan Downing is a 6-2 sophomore post player who averaged 12.3 pts, 9.2 rebounds as freshman and give the Patriots a twin-towers in the paint.
Rylee Sagester is a 5-6 freshman point guard and will start for the Patriots this year and gives the Patriots instant offense and can stretch defenses with her range. She can score points in a hurry and is an exciting player to see.
Morgan Hunt is a 5-10 freshman post player and will be a key contributor off the bench. Morgan is very athletic, can run the floor and score in the open floor or with her back to the basket. Her versatility gives the Patriots another rebounder and defender in the paint.
Rounding out the Varsity Team are sophomores Delanee Gray, Molly Scantland and freshman Torie Richards. Other players in the program are junior Karsi Sprowl, sophomore Maddie Bennett and freshman Halle Belle and Kaylee Brewer.
Tri-Village coach Brad Gray who is now in his 14th season as the girls’ coach is assisted by Laden Delawder, 2nd year and long-time junior varsity coach Mike Fisherback.
The Patriots will have plenty of firepower and can score the ball in many ways with good balance inside and out. So, it’s easy to see why Tri-Village coach Brad Gray is excited about his team and he had this to say about them.
“We have three returning starters who have played in 3 Regionals in their career (Lissa Siler, Maddie Downing, and Andi Bietry). We also get Trisa Porter back, who was arguably our best all-around player as a sophomore two years ago. The experience we have returning in our senior class is a huge benefit. We also return sophomore, Meghan Downing, who was a double digit scorer and just under a double digit rebounder for us last year as a freshman. We are also very excited about Rylee Sagester and Morgan Hunt, both joining us this year as freshmen. We believe both of them will contribute to our team significantly this year. The key for us right now is to find a way to get our team chemistry to gel. We are making strides towards improving in that area. This is a very diverse team that has the ability to score in a lot of different ways and also has great balance. I’m hoping that will allow us to be able to make the adjustments that need to be made based on what teams decide to do defensively. Our goal is always to focus on winning the next one. Our feeling is that if we can do that then everything else will take care of itself.”
Gray sees the league be very good with a lot of talented teams and players.
“Franklin Monroe return the core players from last year’s team and also get Audrey Cable back from injury. Corina Conley is one of the premiere players, not only in our league, but in the Dayton area as a whole,” Gray said.
“Arcanum is another team that returns their core players from a team that continued to get better as the season went on last year. They have a nice mix of guard and post play and can present match-up problems for a lot of teams,” Gray added.
“Bradford is yet another team that returns a lot from last year and they gave us a huge scare in the tournament last year while playing a lot of young kids. Coach Besecker is one of the all-time great coaches in Ohio girls’ basketball so he gives them that added dimension as well.
“Bethel- This is a team that has steadily improved in recent years and now should be ready to take that next step in our league. The kids that they will rely on are now three year players for them so that experience will be a positive.”
“Miami East- Coach Vanover always has Miami East competitive. I know that they lost a huge piece with Haney moving on but they have been a staple at the top of our conference for the past 14 years.”
“National Trail- I think Trail can be a scary team. Once again, this is a team that returns basically everything from last year. Their guard play is solid and if they get hot on a particular night, they are capable of beating anybody.
Not only will the Patriots be challenged in the Cross County Conference they will also have to battle through a very tough non-league schedule with St. Henry, Northmont, Fort Recovery and then 3 tournaments. The Patriots start off playing in their very own Patriot “Bill Burkett” Holiday tournament against Tecumseh while also having Chaminade Julienne and Versailles in the tournament. The Patriots also will be participating in the OGBR Holiday Classic vs Garfield Heights Trinity and also in the prestigious “Classic in the Country vs Margaretta. The Patriots aren’t ducking anyone or hiding and it’s no secret the expectations are high for this team.
If you are a basketball purist and enjoy the game you will definitely want to watch this team play at some time this year and with a break or two it could end up being all the way to Columbus.
PHOTO CAPTION: The defending Cross County Conference Lady Patriots varsity basketball team under the direction of veteran coach Brad Gray. (Stockton Studio photo)