NEW PARIS — The National Trail Blazers fell 69-36 to league-leading Tri-Village, who remains undefeated within the Cross County Conference, on Friday, Jan. 22.
The Blazers faced an uphill task on the road against the defending Division IV state champs, and the Patriots controlled the game from the opening tip.
The lead was double digits by the end of the quarter, as Tri-Village led 19-7. By halftime the lead was out of reach and the Patriots led 35-18.
After three quarters, it was 56-29. When the final buzzer sounded the Blazers had fallen 69-36.
Peyton Harrison led the Blazers with eight points and five assists. Dalton Mason added eight points. Mason, Weston Haws, Chase Thompson and Kaleb Deardorff all recorded four rebounds for National Trail.
The Blazers committed a season-low eight turnovers but managed to shoot only 28 percent from the floor in the contest.
The Patriots scored 50 of their 69 points within the paint.
On Saturday, Jan. 23, the Blazers hosted SWBL opponent Dixie and fell 62-50.
The Blazers found themselves in the lead after the first quarter when Thompson hit a three in the final minute to give the home team a 13-11 lead.
In the second quarter, the Blazers went cold offensively and Dixie grabbed a 27-21 lead heading into halftime.
The Blazers came out in the second half and played well, trimming the lead to just two entering the final frame with the score at 38-36.
National Trail was able to get within three points several times in the quarter, but the Greyhounds went 15-16 from the free throw line in the game, including making every free throw attempted in the fourth quarter as the Blazers attempted to foul to extend the game late on the clock.
Despite the loss, head coach Mike Harrison believes his team has turned a corner with confidence.
“I believe we are all on the same page as a team,” Harrison said, adding, “We are beginning to expect more out of ourselves each night, and we were all disappointed we were not better this night. Dixie is an athletic team that earlier would have been a very tough match-up for us. We now think we can play with those teams.”
Harrison scored 20 points to lead the Blazers, and he recorded six rebounds and four assists on the night. Mason scored eight points and grabbed 12 rebounds as Travis Hunt led the team with six assists.
National Trail hosts Newton on Tuesday, Jan. 26, before traveling to Mississinawa Valley on Friday, Jan. 29. The week ends as the Blazers travel to Preble Shawnee on Saturday, Jan. 30.
Reach Austin Schmidt at 937-683-4062, or on Twitter @aschmidt_RH.