VERSAILLES – Though the faces may have changed due to graduation, the Versailles and Fort Loramie girls basketball teams are rich in tradition and are defending their Ohio High School Athletic Association state championships proudly.
The Lady Tigers, current Division III champions, are off to a 9-4 start while the Lady Redskins of Division IV Fort Loramie are 6-2 in their title defense.
Fort Loramie got 25 points from senior tri-captain Jessica Boerger to help lead the Lady Redskins to a 43-39 victory against Versailles Saturday afternoon. The 5-foot 10-inch forward and three-time returning letterman led Loramie in scoring every period.
The game opened at a good pace. Versailles was trying to find its game rhythm since it had not played a game since Dec. 21 at Arcanum. Fort Loramie was doing an excellent job of transitioning from defense to offense and broke out to an early 12-6 lead.
After a Lady Tiger timeout they greeted the Lady Redskins with a zone defense that slowed down their quick start. With two baskets by Camille Watren sandwiched around a Danielle Winner field goal, Versailles would trail after one period 14-11.
The second quarter was played nearly to a stalemate, and if it weren’t for a Boerger buzzer-beater the teams would have been deadlocked. Thanks to her efforts the Lady Redskins enjoyed a 25-23 advantage at the intermission.
Both offenses had some success in the first half, but the defenders would win out in the third quarter. Versailles and Fort Loramie were on total lock down as they would allow a mere 11 points combined in the period. Versailles led 30-29.
As the fourth quarter opened the game-changing run occurred. The Lady Redskin defense continued its stingy ways while the offense picked up, going on an 11-2 burst, seven scored by Boerger, to take a 40-32 lead with less than five minutes remaining.
The Lady Tigers would cut the lead to three on two different occasions and thanks to their scrappy defense get the ball back. They could not get the shots they needed to fall to complete the comeback.
“We missed a couple free throws down the stretch,” Versailles coach Jacki Stonebraker said. “And missed a bunny shot, then a couple bunny shots. Kind of takes the wind out of our sails. We know we’re wide open, and we miss it. It’s a little frustrating … bunny shots and free throws we work on every day. We’ve just got to bring them to the main court.
“It’s go time. This team, I don’t feel any sense of urgency. I know we play basketball for a lot of weeks, months, but right now is go time. We need a sense of urgency.”
Versailles was 14 of 40 from the floor for 35 percent, had 21 rebounds and committed 14 turnovers. Fort Loramie went 16-40 for 40 percent, gathered 21 rebounds and turned the ball over 19 times.
Versailles with the loss drops to 9-5 on the season and 1-3 in the Midwest Athletic Conference. Fort Loramie advances to 7-2 with the victory.
Fort Loramie – 43
Gasson 1, Frey 5, Quinter 6, Brandewie 2, Boerger 25, Hoying 2, Holthaus 2.
Versailles – 39
McEldowney 6, Watren 6, Langston 5, Shimp 2, Winner 12, Monnin 8.
3-pointers: Ft L: 1(Frey); Vers: 2(Watren, Langston).
Free throws: Ft L:10-12; Vers: 9-16.