Versailles boys basketball leaves the Hangar with close win over Franklin Monroe


By Drew Terhall

ARCANUM — It was a battle for all four quarters at the Hangar. With lead changes throughout the game, the visiting Versailles boys basketball team took home a win over Franklin Monroe, 49-41.

Versailles head coach Travis Swank said he wanted to see the team improve during this game. He felt like they did at least two quarters of the game in a relatively sloppy game.

“Both teams didn’t play as probably cleanly as what each wanted to. We were able to keep on battling, come through some adversity in the fourth quarter and was able to come out and pull out a victory tonight,” Swank said.

Versailles led 13-7 after the first quarter. The Tigers were able to gain an early lead by getting turnovers and ran out in transition.

Those points mattered as the game was mostly a one possession game. Franklin Monroe head coach Troy Myers said it was a bad start for his team in what they believed would be a close game. But, he is proud of how they were able to bounce back.

“The first quarter was not a good way to start in a one possession, two possession game. Quite honestly, we thought that’s what is was going to be. We thought it would be a tournament type game. Half court possessions, you got to be very efficient and value the possessions that you get,” Myers said. “Our response was good. Then the rest of the game was essentially a one possession game.”

Franklin Monroe junior Eric Brenner made three shots from three-point range to help the Jets inch closer to Versailles. Swank said they lost contain defensively on Brenner and gave him too much space to work with.

Versailles senior A.J. Griesdorn tried to hold off the Jets as he scored eight points in the second quarter all around the rim. Swank said Griesdorn has evolved over the years from a shooter to being a strong player around the baseline.

Late in the quarter, Franklin Monroe fought their way to the lead and led 26-25 at halftime.

The Jets extended their lead a little bit as they led 35-32 after three quarters. Both teams were capitalizing on each other’s mistakes. The Tigers had some opportunities to take a lead, but couldn’t hit the outside shots.

Myers said they wanted to force Versailles to settle for more of the outside shots and not attack the paint. After Versailles owned the paint in the first half, Franklin Monroe did a better job keeping them out of the paint.

Then it seemed like everyone on the floor made a play that did or could have helped their team win the game. For Franklin Monroe, senior Gage Wackler was able to get a few defensive stops and made a few key buckets. He had a hand in causing most of Versailles turnovers.

For Versailles, sophomore Ethan Wilker got a few steals and a few stops to keep the Tigers in the game. Swank said the small things Wilker did helped them get the win and he’s only getting better.

“Just making winning plays when winning time matters the most. That’s what Wilker is and he’s only going to get better. He’s only a sophomore, this is only his 11th varsity game,” Swank said.

Versailles senior Gabe White hit a three in the fourth quarter to tie the game at 35-35. Swank said White came off the bench cold, but had the confidence to take that shot and drained it.

With 2:28 left and the game tied at 39-39, Griesdorn made a free throw to take a 40-39 lead. After originally missing their shot on the next possession, Franklin Monroe was able to get a steal as Versailles was trying to take the ball back up the court. Wilson got the ball and gave the Jets a 41-40 lead.

Right after, the Tigers went down the court and senior Carson Heitkamp made a three to go up 43-41. From there, the Tigers held on to get the win.

Myers said the execution down the stretch wasn’t good enough. He hopes this is a learning experience the team doesn’t take lightly and wants to see the growth of this team show up in how they respond from this.

Brenner and junior EB Fall both had 12 points in the game. Wilson finished with eight points and Wackler with seven.

Myers said the team wanted to use this game to prepare for the postseason. Despite the result, Myers believes they were still able to do that.

“We need to use this as a tool to prepare us for what’s to come in four or five weeks. I thought for the most part, we did. I thought our defense was good enough. We got the first shot off the rebound enough,” Myers said.

For Versailles, Griesdorn led with 23 points. Heitkamp was the only other Tiger in double figures with 10 points.

Swank said this was a good win over a really good program to start their stretch of road games. He also said it was good to see his team come out with a win over a good program in Franklin Monroe as Myers does a good job running the program.

“They played against some good competition. We came into a hostile environment and did what we needed to do to get a victory. It wasn’t pretty, but we’ll continue to get better,” Swank said.

Versailles is now 6-5 with a 2-1 MAC record. They will play at Minster on Jan. 19 at 7 p.m. and then at Covington on Jan. 20 at 3:30 p.m.

Franklin Monroe is 9-4 on the season with a 5-1 WOAC record. They will be at Newton on Jan. 19 at 7:30 p.m. and then host Yellow Springs on Jan. 20 at 6:30 p.m.

Contact Daily Advocate sports editor Drew Terhall at [email protected]

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