The New Knoxville girls basketball team is back on the regional stage for the first time in five years with a match-up against one of the most prolific scorers in Ohio girls basketball history.
Hardly a stranger recently to regional basketball, New Madison Tri-Village hopes a third time is a charm for a breakthrough to the state tournament.
The two teams, both hailing from small Western Ohio villages of fewer than 1,000 people, meet in a Division IV regional semifinal on Thursday night at Tipp City Tippecanoe High School at 6:15 p.m.
The talent on both rosters is anything but small-time, however.
Tri-Village (23-1) has reached the regional final game the last two seasons led by senior standout and 2,000-point, 1,000-rebound club member Kayla Linkous.
Tri-Village won a district title last Saturday with a 56-42 win over Miami Valley. Linkous scored 32 points and grabbed 15 rebounds for the Patriots in that win.
On Feb. 2, she became part of an elite number of Ohio girls basketball players who have scored 2,000 points and collected 1,000 rebounds. The other two went on to play in the WNBA (Tamika Williams and Kaayla Chones).
Fort Loramie, which plays in the other regional semifinal at Tippencanoe on Thursday, has denied Tri-Village in the regional title game two straight years.
The Rangers emerged from the St. Marys district last Saturday night with a no-frills 52-45 win over Upper Scioto Valley.
Fort Loramie (18-6) faces Russia (14-9) in the other regional semifinal on Thursday night in the second game.