Tri-Village falls short in D-IV state championship game

Tri-Village High School senior Wilson Suggs is guarded by Richmond Heights senior Detric Hearst, Jr. during the Division IV state championship game on Sunday at UD Arena. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY MICHAEL COOPER

Combined ShapeCaption
Tri-Village High School senior Wilson Suggs is guarded by Richmond Heights senior Detric Hearst, Jr. during the Division IV state championship game on Sunday at UD Arena. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY MICHAEL COOPER

Richmond Heights didn’t have its best player in Sunday’s Division IV state final. But the Spartans still had plenty. Mostly they had length, girth and quickness that Tri-Village had never seen.

The Patriots’ run toward what they hoped would be a second state title in eight years came to an end at UD Arena. Richmond Heights made sure of that with dominant rebounding and strong defense for a 50-29 victory and the school’s first state title.

The Patriots (26-4) played some bigger schools on their nonconference schedule, but nothing prepared them for Richmond Heights.

The Spartans (25-4) were missing 6-foot-7 senior Josiah Harris, who suffered a knee injury in Saturday’s semifinal. His next game will be in college for Bob Huggins at West Virginia. But the Spartans had Jaiden Cox-Holloway knocking down key 3-pointers and scoring 18 points, quick hands and quick feet on defense and bulky 6-7 post London Maiden to lead the rebounding effort.

“We struggled to really initiate offense in the area that we needed to,” Tri-Village coach Josh Sagester said. “Their athleticism really bothered us out front.”

Sagester said his team defended well against the Spartans’ first shot. But it was the second and third shots that hurt. The Patriots were in position to grab rebounds, but Maiden and others were quicker to the ball and often kept it alive until it landed in the hands of a Spartan.

That was especially true in the first half. Richmond Heights grabbed 12 offensive rebounds and converted those into eight points. For the game the Spartans had 16 offensive rebounds and 14 second-chance points.

“Thirty-four (Maiden) was definitely a matchup that I haven’t seen all year,” said Patriots 6-6 senior Josh Scantland. “He wouldn’t move very easy when I was trying to box out. He was just stronger and just hard to stop.”

The Patriots trailed 20-11 at halftime after being down five late in the half. Cox-Holloway’s 3-pointer at the third-quarter buzzer put them down by 12. The Patriots got no closer than 10 in the fourth.

The Patriots won the state title in 2015, and this was their first trip back to the final four. Richmond Heights lost in the semifinals last year and in 2019.

Tri-Village enjoyed strong fan support for the second straight day.

“It means a lot to our community,” Sagester said. “It means a lot to our parents and our kids. We’ll sit back and reflect and realize just how special this is.”

Division II: Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary extended its record of state titles to 10 with a 63-35 victory over Gates Mills Gilmour Academy. It was their second straight title and third in six years.

Illinois-bound Sencire Harris led the irish (25-4) with 17 points and seven assists. Lance Hayes added 11 points and Ramar Pryor 10.

Division III: Cincinnati Taft held on to defeat Ottawa-Glandorf 48-45 to win the school’s second state championship.

Mekhi Elmore, who transferred to Taft for the 2020-21 season from Thurgood Marshall, led the Senators with 18 points, four assists and three steals. Rayvon Griffith added 12 points. Colin White led the Titans with 18 points.

Division II: Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary extended its record of state titles to 10 with a 63-35 victory over Gates Mills Gilmour Academy. It was their second straight title and third in six years.

Illinois-bound Sencire Harris led the irish (25-4) with 17 points and seven assists. Lance Hayes added 11 points and Ramar Pryor 10.

Division III: Cincinnati Taft held on to defeat Ottawa-Glandorf 48-45 to win the school’s second state championship.

Mekhi Elmore, who transferred to Taft for the 2020-21 season from Thurgood Marshall, led the Senators with 18 points, four assists and three steals. Rayvon Griffith added 12 points. Colin White led the Titans with 18 points.

About the Author