CASSTOWN – A lack of rebounding and below-average perimeter shooting led to the Tri-Village girls basketball team’s first loss of the season Saturday, a 51-44 loss at Miami East.
Tri-Village was held to a season low in scoring Saturday afternoon while also giving up a season high in scoring, in part due to allowing Miami East to get rebounds, Tri-Village coach Brad Gray said.
“I thought our effort was great. I thought we played really hard,” he said. “Not even a little bit disappointed about that but we just couldn’t rebound the ball. Everything you want to look at but it comes down to the fact that we didn’t get rebounds on the defensive end of the floor. We allowed them to get too many second-chance, third-chance, fourth-chance opportunities. As a result, we walk out of here with a seven-point loss. If we rebound the ball, we probably have a double-digit win. It wasn’t meant to be.”
Tri-Village never had a lead in the game as Miami East scored the contest’s first four points. The Lady Patriots tied the game with baskets from Krystal Falknor and Teha Richards, but then the Vikings went on a 7-0 run to regain the lead, which it held for the rest of the game. Ecko Brown scored the final points of the first quarter as Tri-Village trailed 11-6.
Miami East built its lead to as many as nine points in the second quarter, leading 19-10, but Tri-Village kept the game close even though its offense wasn’t as potent as normal. Trailing by nine, Brown, Richards, Falknor and Shaye Thomas each scored in the final minutes of the first half to pull the game to within five points at 23-18.
“We felt good with where we were at halftime,” Gray said. “I thought we played a terrible first half, and we were only down five.”
A bucket by Falknor to begin the third quarter made it a one-possession game at 23-20, but that’s as close as Tri-Village got in the second half as Miami East went on an 8-0 run to regain control of the game. At the end of the third quarter, the Patriots trailed by 10 points, 37-27.
Miami East built its lead up to as many as 13 points a couple times in the fourth quarter before Tri-Village started to pull closer. The Patriots couldn’t get any closer than six points, however, and lost by seven, 51-44.
Even though Miami East had the size advantage, Gray said he thought the Patriots should have done a better job getting rebounds Saturday.
“We can’t do anything about their size or our size,” Gray said. “We are what we are. They’re big; we’re not. But it’s still an effort thing where you box out really hard. I thought our kids did, but I think what they didn’t do was just go complete the possession by going and actively going after the basketball. I think we had maybe a couple kids that were doing that, but most of our kids were I guess relying on other people to go get boards. We can’t do that when we’re playing big teams; we’ve got to have five people on the glass.”
In addition to the rebounding problems, Tri-Village had offensive struggles. Only four of the team’s players were able to score against Miami East even though the Patriots have five girls who average double-digit scoring this season.
“We didn’t hit shots. You watch film, we’re getting shots; we’re not hitting shots,” Gray said. “(Lexie) Bruner is normally a good shooter for us, couldn’t buy one today. Shaye didn’t shoot it well from the perimeter. We have to have people hitting shots for us to be good.”
Teha Richards led Tri-Village with 13 points in the game, Falknor scored 12 points, Brown scored 10, and Thomas added nine.
“If we have one or two who aren’t having a great night, typically we have three or four other kids who step up,” Gray said. “Today we could only get four people on the board; we only had four people score. That’s not us. Usually we have five, six, seven, sometimes even all eight of us score. We didn’t get that kind of production today.”
With the Patriots not shooting well, they needed to be able to drive to the basket, but Miami East’s size made that difficult, Gray said.
“When we’re not hitting shots, then we have to be able to get to the rim,” he said. “The problem against Miami East was if we’re driving to the rim, it’s 6’1” on 5’4”. That’s tough for us. But in a game like today, we really needed to knock down some perimeter shots, and we just weren’t able to do that.”
Tri-Village is now 10-1 on the season and 6-1 in the Cross County Conference. The Patriots return to action Thursday at Tri-County North.