Boys basketball: Tri-Village tops Greeneview for third straight district title

DAYTON — The Tri-Village High School boys basketball team keeps getting it done in the postseason — even in a new division.

Patriots senior post Justin Finkbine scored a game-high 22 points and senior guard Wilson Suggs added 16 points as Tri-Village pulled away in the second half to beat Greeneview 60-50 on Friday night in a Division III district final game at University of Dayton Arena.

A year ago, the Patriots were D-IV state runner-up, falling to Richmond Heights at UD Arena.

This year, a lot of people were curious how they’d fare in a new division, especially considering they’re one of the smallest schools in D-III, said Patriots coach Josh Sagester.

“It was a little motivation,” Sagester said.

Trailing 22-21 at the half, the Patriots emphasized getting the ball to Finkbine, who scored 15 points in the third quarter to give Tri-Village a 38-32 lead.

“Our guys did a really good job of getting it to him and he got some confidence and got it going,” Sagester said. “They were really spread out on us. Obviously, our guards have been playing well, making shots and attacking the rim. (Finkbine) had a good matchup and the kids did a good job of finishing tonight. (Finkbine) is a senior leader for us. To win these games, you’ve got to have seniors.”

The Rams pulled to within four points at 42-38 on a 3-point play by senior Myles Witt in the fourth quarter. Finkbine, however, countered with a 3-point play of his own to extend the lead back to seven points.

“They’ve got some stronger kids that we knew could be a problem,” Greeneview coach Kyle Fulk said. “In the first half, I thought we did a really good job with it. They really focused on (getting the ball in the post) in the second half. We should’ve come up with a different strategy to combat that before it got too far out of hand. It’s a good job by them executing the game plan, especially in the second half.”

The Rams wouldn’t get any closer. The Patriots went 19-for-21 from the free throw line, including 12-for-14 in the final eight minutes.

“A lot of those guys that stepped up have some experience,” Sagester said. “We’ve played a lot of games here. We’ve been fortunate to come out on the good side of most of the games here.”

Greeneview senior Ethen Caudill had 14 points and junior Chase Allen added 10 points as the Rams finished their season 21-5.

Greeneview struggled from the field throughout the game. They went 19-for-46 (41.3 percent), including 5-for-21 from the 3-point line (23.8 percent). The Rams also went 7-for-16 from the free throw line.

“Style-wise, our teams are very different, but we still both shoot a lot of 3s,” Fulk said. “Coming into the game, I thought it was going to be about who shot the ball best. They did at the free throw line and we struggled. If you don’t make shots, sometimes the other team is going to score more than you. That’s what happened tonight.”

The Rams will graduate seven seniors from a squad that won two Ohio Heritage Conference South Division titles and advanced to two district final games in four years.

“It’s a group that I’ve seen pretty much every day for the last four years of my life,” Fulk said. “We shared some tears (in the locker room) and shared some laughs about a couple of things. It’s a special group that will be missed. I look forward to seeing what cool stuff they do moving forward.”

The Patriots (21-5) advanced to play Canal Winchester Harvest Prep (20-6) at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 8 at Kettering’s Trent Arena — a rematch of the 2015 Division IV state championship game.

“I’ve not looked that far ahead,” Sagester said. “I’m proud of us, proud of our program and proud of our school district to have a boys team in the Sweet 16 and a girls team in the Elite Eight. It speaks volumes about our kids.”

Jackson Center 56, Cincinnati College Prep Academy 34: The Tigers trailed 14-8 after one period, but they outscored the Lions 48-20 in the final three quarters to win a D-IV district final game for the first time since 2020.

Jace Mullenhour had 25 points and 13 rebounds, Camdyn Reese had 12 points and 11 rebounds and Nolan Fark added 11 points for third-ranked Jackson Center (24-1), who scored 34 points in the paint.

The Tigers advanced to play Patriot Prep Academy in a D-IV regional semifinal game at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Trent Arena.

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