TIPP CITY — New Knoxville’s chance to bury tournament-tested New Madison Tri-Village came in the first half when it built an eight-point lead.
When that didn’t happen, the Rangers were in for a physical, see-saw battle for the game’s final 20 minutes.
“That’s the way it’s been all year,” New Knoxville head coach Tim Hegemier said. “We just never seem to want to put anybody away.”
At the regional level, it’s a dangerous game to play.
New Madison Tri-Village emerged from a close overtime contest with New Knoxville with a 45-43 win in a Division IV regional semifinal at a packed Tipp City Tippecanoe High School on Thursday night.
“We had our chances and we didn’t put them away,” Hegemier said. “We always let people hang around and sometimes that’s going to bite you.”
New Knoxville bows out of the tournament with a 21-4 record.
The win sets up a Tri-Village-Fort Loramie regional championship game for the third straight season. The Redskins have won the last two contests to make a trip to the state’s final four.
Tri-Village’s Kayla Linkous scored a game-high 23 points and grabbed a team-high nine rebounds for the Patriots.
Paige Lehman led New Knoxville with 13 points and eight rebounds. Tiana Heidt and Haley Horstman each scored 10 points for the Rangers.
As for the rest of the Ranger roster that featured two sophomores and a freshman in the starting line-up, Tri-Village’s Gray said their time will come.
“New Knoxville, with a freshman and two sophomores, they’re going to be a team to be reckoned with,” Gray said. “They’ll be back here. But we’re a veteran team and I think right now it’s our turn.”
Read the full story in Friday's Evening Leader.