PITSBURG – Saturday’s sectional final matchup between Versailles and Miami East in the Ohio High School Athletic Association Division III girls basketball tournament was a stepping stone for the Lady Tigers.
Versailles hoped this would be the third victory along a trail that would take it to Columbus in March. The Lady Vikings stood in Versailles’ way and the Lady Tigers faced the challenge head on. Using its long range outside shooting attack and stringent defense Versailles took care of Miami East 68-36.
“This is what we work for,” Lady Tigers coach Jacki Stonebraker said. “We set goals every year … to get to districts … Anything can happen at the districts and regionals. If you can get yourself there, you’ve got a chance.”
Versailles wasted little time establishing its offensive dominance. An opening 14-2 run highlighted by triples by Camille Watren and two by Kami McEldowney, who tied a school record with six on the day, did heavy damage to the Lady Vikings. Before East could gather itself the period had ended and found the Vikings trailing 22-6.
“I thought the girls really came out,” Coach Stonebraker said. “Threw a couple different defenses at them with our press … Really ran on them well, felt like our offense was clicking and hit some 3s in the first quarter. It really took them out of their defense.”
The Lady Tigers’ outside accuracy prompted the Miami East zone to have to take a step or two farther out on the floor to guard the perimeter shooters. This began to open the inside area for post players Danielle Winner and Liz Ording for easier attempts at the basket.
Versailles outscored the Lady Vikings 17-11 in the second period to give the Tigers a 39-17 advantage after 16 minutes.
The interior offense of the Lady Tigers continued to flourish in the third quarter with Danielle Winner, Liz Ording and Mallory Marshal leading the way. Versailles ruled the period 17-8 and was in complete control heading into the final stanza, 56-25.
The only drama in the fourth quarter came after McEldowney netted her sixth triple of the game. Could she set a new school record of seven? Miami East became wise as to what was happening and played a special defense designed to limit McEldowney’s touches for the remainder of the game. Despite her team mates’ best efforts, the Lady Tigers’ point guard could not connect again.
As Coach Stonebraker praised the efforts of Liz Ording, Watren and Ellen Peters, she also discussed how hard it is for someone to break the 3-point record “because we don’t shoot many 3s.”
McEldowney led the Versailles charges with 20 points, Liz Ording contributed 12 and Watren added 11.
The Lady Tigers will face Bethel-Tate at 11 a.m. Saturday at Springfield High School.