By Drew Terhall
GREENVILLE — The Versailles High School boys basketball team defeated Greenville High School, 59-47, on Dec. 29 on the road.
Tigers head coach Travis Swank said he was overall happy with his team’s performance. His team crashed the offensive glass throughout the game to keep a comfortable lead over the Green Wave.
“We’re happy with what we put out there on the floor tonight. I thought we got a lot of second chance opportunities early,” Swank said. “We just got done talking in the lockeroom, hopefully we don’t need those second and third chance opportunies and we can score on the first time.”
The Tigers got into a rhythm early on the offensive side of the court. They were able to run their offensive sets and found success right away.
Versailles led 19-7 after the first quarter. Then a minute into the second quarter, Versailles scored two quick buckets to make it a 23-7 lead.
Greenville head coach Matt Hamilton called a timeout so his team can regroup.
“That was an effort timeout. You can’t get beat in transition. We talk about mental toughness, it’s one of those things that they can’t beat us down the floor and give up easy points. That was a challenge to them to don’t let up,” Hamilton said.
From that point on, Greenville played some better basketball. The timeout gave the Green Wave a jolt of energy as they tried to chip into the Versailles lead.
The Tigers led 33-17 at the half after Versailles junior AJ Griesdorn heaved a three point shot from about three-quarters down the court from the basket. Swank said he got that shot off from going and attacking a rebound. He wants to see Griesdorn continue that mentality this season.
During the third quarter, Versailles continued to separate themselves from Greenville and extended their lead. A flurry of three-point makes helped the Tigers get into the fourth quarter with a 50-32 lead.
Greenville continued to battle throughout the fourth quarter. They got some turnovers and were able to get into a flow on offense.
The whole second half featured a more locked-in Greenville team. They had 30 points in the second half. Senior Jarrod Demange had 13 points in the second half to help lead the Greenville offense.
But, the same song and dance happened during the game. Once Greenville gets back into a game, they start to unravel a little bit. It’s one step forward, two steps back once the Green Wave captures momentum during a game.
“It’s a different team, but kind of the same thing we keep talking about. It’s the attention to detail,” Hamilton said. “We go on a run, we get within striking distance but then we do minute of stupidity. We can’t quite get there.”
They could get over that hump this season as they look to get healthier soon. Hamilton said they are hoping to get some players back from injury. He also said some players are dealing with illnesses during this time.
Versailles stayed strong during the fourth quarter to get the double-digit win. Swank said they emphasized creating turnovers and taking care of the ball themselves. He felt like they accomplished that for the first three quarters, but got a little sloppy in the fourth.
But, their defense helped Versailles overcome some of those turnovers. The Tigers were able to limit the Green Wave’s leading scorer in this game.
Senior Haiden Livingston averages 14 points a game. Versailles seniors Lucas Stammen and Joe Ruhenkamp held him to six points. Swank said both have embraced their roles on the defense and flourish in those roles.
“They do the stuff that we teach and we preach in practice as far as defense goes. They buy in that it’s their job and that’s their assignment out there. They both did it really well tonight,” Swank said.
Demange led the Green Wave with 16 points. Sophomore Drew Hamilton was second on the team with eight points.
For Versailles, senior Connor Stonebraker had 17 points to lead the team. He had 11 points in the second half. Griesdorn finished the game with 14 points and sophomore Jace Watren had 11 points.
The Tigers are now 4-4 and will take on Miami East on Dec. 30 in another road contest. The Green Wave are now 0-9 and will wait a week before traveling to Sidney on Jan. 6 for a MVL matchup.
Contact Daily Advocate sports editor Drew Terhall at [email protected]