RUSSIA – A 19-2 first half run allowed the Versailles girls basketball team to take control of Saturday’s game at Russia and led to a 49-27 win for the Lady Tigers.
Versailles was focused on Saturday and didn’t get distracted by any of the day’s abnormalities, coach Jacki Stonebraker said.
“I felt like the girls came out ready to play,” she said. “Their mindset was good.”
Versailles took an early lead with a pair of free throws by Danielle Winner and a 3-pointer by Kami McEldowney. Russia then enjoyed its only lead of the day with back-to-back baskets by Maria Herron that put the Raiders up 6-5.
But from there Versailles took control. Lauren Monnin, McEldowney and Ellen Peters scored the next seven points to put the Tigers up 12-5 – a lead they never surrendered.
Herron then scored again for Russia to end the Raiders’ drought before Winner scored the final four points of the quarter to give Versailles a 16-8 lead.
“I think she’s got bragging rights for Christmas Day,” Stonebraker said of Winner, who scored 13 of her game-high 16 points in the first half. “She played a heck of a first half. They started to guard her a little bit better in the second half. She got her cousin in foul trouble early on so that helped us out.”
Led by Camille Watren, Winner and Peters, Versailles started the second quarter on an 8-0 run to increase the Tiger lead to 24-8.
Tiffany Hatcher made a pair of free throws to halt Versailles scoring run, but the Tigers kept on cruising with more points from Winner, Peters and Brynna Blakeley to lead 30-12 at halftime.
With Versailles slowing the game down in the third quarter, the Tigers only put up six points with three each from McEldowney and Winner. They still added to their lead as they held Russia to five in the quarter and led 36-17.
The scoring picked up again in the fourth quarter with Peters, McEldowney, Monnin, Kristin Langston and Emily Marshal combing for 13 fourth quarter points for the Lady Tigers, who finished off the game with a 49-27 win against their neighboring rivals.
Winner led Versailles with her game-high 16 points on Saturday. Also for the Tigers, McEldowney scored nine points, Monnin scored seven, Peters scored seven, Marshal scored four, Blakeley scored two, Langston scored two, and Watren scored two.
Herron led Russia with 12 points. Also for the Raiders, Hatcher scored five points, Whitney Pleiman scored four, Jenna Cordonnier scored three, and Laurissa Poling scored three.
While Versailles didn’t always look crisp on Saturday, Stonebraker wasn’t too concerned.
“That’s OK because there’s a lot of outside variables in this game,” she said.
Saturday’s game was a varsity-only contest, and it was played in Russia’s junior high gym because of a leak in the Raiders’ main gymnasium. Then the game was delayed for several minutes in the third quarter when Versailles’ Clair Schmitmeyer and Russia’s Hatcher both went down with injuries after colliding with each other.
“I heard there was a lot of blood going on,” Stonebraker said. “I’m assuming they just hit heads. Clair turns very quickly, she gets up the floor … she works with cows on a daily basis; she’s going to run into you, and she’s going to run into you hard. The girl doesn’t have a second gear, and I’m sure she hit Tiffany right in the eye where she hit her own head. Hers did not bleed, but I’m pretty certain that she had a concussion.”
Versailles, which improved to 8-4 with Saturday’s win, will play at Arcanum on Monday. It’s the final game of 2015 for the Tigers, who will play host to Fort Loramie on Jan. 2.
Kyle Shaner may be reached at 937-569-4316. Follow me on Twitter @KShanerAdvocate or get updates on Facebook by searching Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com.