Versailles boys basketball get big win over Indian Lake on senior night


By Drew Terhall

VERSAILLES — On senior night, the Versailles boys basketball team got the win over Indian Lake, 69-59. After trailing for most of the first half, the Tigers came out strong in the second half and took care of business.

Head coach Travis Swank said after a stretch of losing to St. John’s by two and losing to a really good Russia team, they changed some things up and started to see the team play better.

They lost two close games to two good teams in Coldwater and Ponitz. But, Versailles is now on a four game winning streak with one more game left of the regular season. Indian Lake is another good team as they are a two seed in the OHSAA Division III Southwest Sectional Tournament.

“Our kids just started seeing and believing that we’re right there with some of these really good teams. Coldwater is a really good team. We just got to do things a little bit better and we can compete and win these games,” Swank said.

The Lakers led 33-30 at halftime. Indian Lake had a slight edge in the game with their three point shooting. They made six threes in the first half. They finished with 10 made threes.

Swank said while both teams didn’t show a lot with the tournament coming and there is a chance these two teams meet again, Indian Lake still showed how dangerous they are from three.

“Their capability of knocking down the three ball is so deadly. They’re so dangerous because a lot of guys can surround the floor and hit threes for them. We did as best as we could defending the three. Our size and physicality hurt them a little bit tonight,” Swank said.

Then Versailles slowly started to take over the game in the second half as more guys made plays. Seniors Carson Heitkamp and AJ Griesdorn along with sophomore Ethan Wilker all crashed the boards. Junior Jace Watren and sophomore Drake Ahrens blocked shots and tipped passes with their length.

Swank said at times, it’s nice to have that athleticism and length on his team that can make up for some defensive mistakes.

“It’s something that you don’t like saying as a coach. But, you’re glad you have it in your back pocket that guys can make up for some mistakes out there on the defensive floor at times,’ Swank said.

Late in the third quarter, Watren drained a three to tie the game, 43-43. Griesdorn later made two free throws to take a 47-46 lead. A bucket by Griesdorn and a three from Wilker at the buzzer gave Versailles a 54-49 lead heading into the fourth quarter.

From there, the Tigers broke open the game. Ahrens was efficient all night being the offensive facilitator. He was able to hit Griesdorn around the baseline and in the paint with precise passes. He found the open shooters.

At times, Ahrens took it to the rim and got a few layups in. Everyone stepped up to get a big win in the last week of the regular season.

Griesdorn, Heitkamp and senior Gabe White were all honored before the game.

Swank said Griesdorn developed while in the starting lineup last season and has taken on a bigger role his senior season. After a slow start from football season, Griesdorn had played really good basketball.

Swank said Heitkamp and White are both guys who didn’t get a lot of playing time last season but are thriving in their roles this season. For Heitkamp, Swank said he is a hard worker who has developed into a great rebounder and a great scorer.

For White, Swank said he has been a spark plug off the bench and knows the game very well.

Five players scored for Versailles and all scored double-digit points. Griesdorn led with 20 points. Ahrens had 15 points and Watren had 13 points. Wilker finished with 11 points and Heitkamp had 10 points.

Versailles is 11-10 on the season with a 4-4 MAC record. They will end the regular season on Feb. 16 at Marion Local. After that, they will be playing in the Division III Boys Basketball Tournament as the 11th seed. Swank said they got as good of a draw as they could get in their position.

With how the team is playing and with the unpredictability of the tournament, you never know who can make a run.

“I’m happy with where our team is at. I think we’re continuing to get better. But, crazy things have happened in the tournament. That is why I think the basketball tournament is one of the more fun sports to watch,” Swank said. “Any given night, somebody can get beat.”

Versailles will play at Butler High School on Feb. 27 and take on 14th seed Arcanum. Tip off is slated for 7:30 p.m.

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

No posts to display