“They’re disappointed and I think that shows where we’ve come for this program,” said Mason who finished his first year as head coach after serving as an assistant. “A couple years ago we were just hoping to compete with everybody, and if we competed we were really happy. I have 13 girls in there that are upset they lost. They came in expecting to win. That’s why our program is on the rise.”
Maggie Coe, a sophomore point guard, got the Indians started with two 3-pointers to build an 11-6 lead. Early in the second quarter senior Hayley Melton went to work in the post for two baskets and junior Ise Bolender hit a 3-pointer to help build the lead to 22-10 with 4:39 left.
Tri-Village (24-1) responded out of a timeout and cut the lead to 23-19 at halftime. The Indians committed turnovers and sent the Patriots to the foul line for five points. And senior post Danika Mann started to take over with five of her game-high 23 points.
“We started playing harder and taking advantage of what we were given,” Tri-Village star Allie Downing said. “It helped us get back in it.”
Bolender and Kyla Harding scored back-to-back baskets early in the third for a 29-22 lead. But the Patriots responded with two 3-pointers and a three-point play by Mann for a 29-28 lead.
“We knew with all the zone they’ve been seeing it was a matter of time before they started clicking,” Mason said.
The lead changed hands four more times before the Patriots took the lead for good early in the fourth quarter. The lead was 42-40 midway through the fourth, but Cedarville didn’t make another shot, only two free throws when it was too late.
Bolender led the Indians with 17 points and Melton scored 12.
“They’re going to continue to be a good basketball team,” Gray said. “They’ve got a lot of great kids coming back for next year.”