Expectations remain high.
Tri-Village continues to deliver.
A second straight Ohio Division IV district championship made its way to New Madison when the Tri-Village boys basketball team handled Fort Loramie 62-37 last Thursday at University of Dayton Arena.
And it was the first victory at UD Arena for the Patriots since 1991.
What also happened that year was the Patriots won a regional title and advanced to state. That’s what they aim for next.
Tip-off is 8 p.m. tonight at Kettering Fairmont’s Trent Arena for a regional semifinal.
The Patriots (25-1) face the Troy Christian team that eliminated them from last year’s tournament, 48-43 in an overtime regional semifinal.
The winner of tonight’s game advances to Friday’s regional championship. The regional champion advances to Ohio’s Final Four.
“It’d be amazing. It’s a dream for everybody. It would definitely be a dream come true for me if we get there,” said Tri-Village senior Tyler Cook, who has scored more than 1,000 points in his career and became the first starter to win back-to-back district championships.
The first district title came in 1991 and the Patriots waited 22 years before winning the crown in 2013.
No wait this time.
The three-headed monster of Tyler Cook and juniors Damion Cook and Colton Linkous has led the Patriots to a 51-2 combined record in the last two seasons.
They went 22-0 in the 2013 regular season, before falling in the regional semifnal to finish 26-1.
Their only loss this year came to Franklin Monroe, whom the Patriots shared the Cross County Conference championship with. That also ended what at the time was the longest regular-season winning streak in the state of Ohio.
“We’re excited about getting an opportunity to get back to the Sweet 16,” head coach Josh Sagester said. “Last year, obviously, we stumbled a little bit, but we’ve been waiting a long time to get an opportunity to play at Trent Arena, so we’re excited about the opportunity.”
Tyler Cook and Damion Cook both had double-doubles in the district championship game with Tyler Cook scoring 24 points and bringing down 12 rebounds and Damion Cook finishing with 11 points and 13 rebounds.
Linkous had 10 points, seven rebounds and four steals. Tyler VanWinkle dished nine assists, while scoring four points of his own, and senior Tommy Bell, who Sagester said usually guards the opposing team’s leading scorer, scored seven points. Knox Morris, Mason McCabe and Gavin Richards also scored points for the Patriots.
“We’re going to take it one-by-one for now,” Damion Cook said. “… Just really proud to be with these guys.”