PITSBURG – The Versailles Lady Tigers proved to the Lady Mohawks of Madison High School that they are much more than an inside-scoring-based offense Saturday afternoon.
The Lady Tigers demonstrated an offense that could strike from the outside, inside, off a missed shot and in transition in their 64-41 Ohio High School Athletic Association Division III girls basketball sectional final victory.
Madison loaded its defense inside the lane to begin the game in an attempt to nullify Danielle Winner and Lauren Monnin working in the paint. This, however, left an opening for 3-point opportunities for Kami McEldowney and Kristin Langston, and they converted. Add two Monnin field goals, and the Lady Tigers had a quick 13-5 lead with about three minutes remaining in the period.
It looked like Versailles was ready to set sail for an easy victory, but the Lady Mohawks had other ideas. Madison put together its own rally and managed to trail only 15-11 after one quarter.
“The threes loosened up their zone and made them come up a lot,” Versailles coach Jacki Stonebraker said. “Allowed the post players some freedom in there. They were really packed in there in the first quarter. Those shots were huge for us.”
The second quarter was all Versailles.
“The second quarter has been our quarter the last couple of games,” Stonebraker said. “Couple of sparks off the bench have attributed to that. We have been able to rotate more than two or three people in. We can go five or six deep and still maintain a very good varsity team.”
The Lady Tigers outscored Madison 26-7 in the period with 16 coming from the guards and 10 coming from the inside players. Many of these points were made from fast-break opportunities off of missed shots or turnovers.
“Our transition game was really good today,” Stonebraker said. “We’ve been practicing that the last couple of days. That was the key to our success. We had to get them out of their 2-2-1 press. We needed to get the ball up and down, not wait for them to set up.”
Madison came out and won the third quarter 16-10, but the 51-34 score, after three periods, would be as close as the Lady Mohawks would get. Versailles took the fourth 13-7 to make the final score 64-41.
Versailles, now 19-6, won the sectional title and moves on to the district level Saturday vs. Waynesville at 11 a.m. at Springfield High School.
What’s the key to the Lady Tigers’ success?
“It comes down to being able to build a program,” Coach Stonebraker said. “It starts in junior high. Our junior high coaches are on the bench with us … Our assistant coaches and scouts. The number of hours they put in. It’s just work. That’s what we do is keep working hard.”
Versailles – 64
McEldowney 13, Watren 7, Langston 6, Blakeley 2, K Ording 3, Schmitmeyer 2, Peters 4, Shimp 4, Winner 13, Monnin 10.
Madison – 41
Runnells 3, Whiteman 6, Campbell 2, Dietz 6, Canter 5, Bush 19.
3-pointers: Vers: 4(McEldowney, K Ording, Langston 2); M: 2(Runnells, Bush).
Free throws: Vers: 6-12; M: 7-11.