Tri-Village players celebrate 44-41 win over Antwerp in the state semi-final game to advance to the State Championship. (Dale Barger Photo)

Tri-Village Will Play For State Championship

DAYTON – The Tri-Village Boys Basketball team is one game away from a potential 2nd State Championship after defeating 27-2 Antwerp 44-41 at UD Arena in the OHSAA DIV state semifinal game.

Tri-Village trailed 5-2 in the early going after a triple by Landon Jaggers … but the Patriots countered with a couple tough buckets from Josh Scantland and Layne Sarver.  Sarver then knocked down back-to-back triples to put the Patriots ahead 10-6.

The Archers tied the game at 10 with a triple and a fielder from Landon Brewer before a steal by Tanner Printz taking it the length of the court for a layup followed by a hard two from Justin Finkbine giving the PATS a 14-10 lead at the end of the 1st quarter.

Tri-Village scored 8 points in the 2nd quarter; 5 from Sarver and 3 from Scantland while clamping down on the Antwerp allowing just one field goal … but the Archers connected on a big second chance kick for a jumper at the buzzer and the Patriots led 22-14 at the half.

Antwerp used the break to their advantage and quickly closed the gap on Tri-Village in the third quarter and eventually taking a 25-24 lead at 5:29 on a triple from Brewer.

The Archers slowed down Sarver scoring just two points in the 3rd frame … but TV got a big triple from Wilson Suggs and 6 points from Justin Finkbine that included a steal and then a big rebound off a missed free throw for two buckets to energize and vault the Patriots back out front 35-28 heading into the final stanza.

“We knew they wouldn’t quit, that team is made up of a bunch of winners is the best way to describe them.  Tri-Village coach Josh Sagester said of the Archers.  “We just had to be tougher and play our game,”

Antwerp closed the gap on the Patriots again in the 4th quarter with the benefit of making free throws and triple from Krouse narrowing the lead to 35-34 

After going without a score for over 4 minutes Layne Sarver hit a tough shot to finally answer … but Landon Brewer fired another arrow back from long-range hitting the mark to tie the game at 37, Brewer had 18 points in the game.

But the Patriots didn’t wilt, didn’t fold as their go to guy Layne Sarver would respond with a winning play firing in his own triple with guys in his grill and the PATS were back in front 40-37 at 2:28.

“Those last two shots by Sarver were tremendous, they were winning plays, the kind that add up in a tight basketball game, he’s really athletic,” Antwerp coach Doug Billman said.

But the Patriots still had work to do on a night when they struggled to make free throws going just 5-14 in the game. 

Wilson Suggs who made a big triple in the 3rd quarter canned two of them to put the Patriots up 42-37 with 1:31.

The Arrows fired in one more triple to make it 42-40 before fouling Dalton Delong with 49 seconds to play. Delong was true on both providing a 4-point cushion 44-40.

The Archers would make a free throw to make it 44-41 and then fouled Layne Sarver who uncharacteristically missed both tosses opening the door for Antwerp with one last attempt to maybe tie the game and send it to overtime.

But Jagger Landers three-point attempt didn’t get off in time sending Tri-Village back to the State Title game for the first time since 2015.

Sarver led all scorers in the contest with 20 points and 9 rebounds.  None bigger than the one her grabbed off a missed free throw late in the game to extend the Patriots possession that led to two made free throws.  Sarver also was key in helping control and keep Antwerp leading scorer Jagger Landers 10 points below his 21-point average due to Josh Scantland having foul trouble.

The Patriots also got huge spark plug plays from Justin Finkbine who scored 8 points, 9 rebounds and 3 steals.

Tri-Village played a tough schedule this year, intentionally designed to prepare them for moments like this and now they have one more game to play to complete the mission. 

Next up for Tri-Village is Richmond Heights who defeated Berlin Highland 59-21 in the other state semi-final game.  They will play today at 5:15pm at UD Arena.

Layne Sarver made winning plays, tough shots with 20 points and 9 rebounds to elevate the Patriots to win over Antwerp. (Dale Barger Photo)
Justin Finkbine helped stave off two runs with spark plug plays with 8 points and 9 rebounds in win over Antwerp. (Dale Barger Photo)
Wilson Suggs hit this big triple and two key free throws late to help TV in win over the Archers. (Dale Barger Photo)
Josh Scantland saddled with foul trouble much of the game hit a big time shot late in the 3rd quarter to help the Patriots keep the lead heading into the 4th quarter. (Dale Barger Photo)
The Tri-Village student section had plenty cheer about and will be back in full force for the State Championship game on Sunday at 5:15pm at UD Arena. (Dale Barger Photo)

Dale Barger / Sports Editor

Dale Barger is a lifelong sports enthusiast and has covered high school athletics for nearly 20 years in Southwest Ohio and now becomes sports editor for Darke County now. For 18 years Dale has been a sportswriter for The Daily Advocate and has been published in online sorts magazines and conference websites. Dale is also an accomplished photographer who has captured thousands of athletes in action over the years. Dale is a member of The Ohio Prep Sportswriters Association and was a 2019 recipient of the Ohio High School Athletic Association Southwest District Media Service Award. Dale lives on a 72-acre farm outside of New Madison, Ohio and is married to Rita Ann (Fourman) Barger and together they have two sons and three grandkids. If you don’t see Dale at a sporting event you might catch him following his other passion – photographing nature and wildlife. Contact Darke County Now Editor Media Sports Editor Dale Barger at dbarger@darkecountynow.com.

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