Versailles girls basketball pull away in second half to advance in tournament


By Drew Terhall

COVINGTON — In the OHSAA Division III Girls Basketball Southwest Sectional, the fifth seed Versailles Lady Tigers use a big second half to defeat 13th seed Brookville, 62-29, at Covington High School.

Head coach Tracy White said the Lady Blue Devils came out and gave them a fight in the first half. Versailles held a small lead at halftime.

“It was a battle. They worked hard, they came to play. I felt like it was back and forth until we could get into a groove and get some things going offensively and defensively,” White said.

Brookville hung around in the first quarter as senior Ashlee Haupt made a few threes. The Versailles offense couldn’t out pace them early as they had their struggles with turnovers.

White said in the first half, they weren’t using the whole court offensively. They weren’t using ball reversals to stretch out the defense and keep Brookville on their toes.

It looked like it was going to be a tight game as the first half was coming to a close. But, sophomore Brooke Bergman made two threes in the final minutes to give Versailles more of a cushion.

White said Bergman has played solid for them and is always ready for her number to be called. She also said while Bergman doesn’t get many opportunities to be called one, she continues to work hard and play with confidence.

“She was kind of a spark for us. We were in a little bit of foul trouble and she came in, didn’t think twice about it, and knocked some threes down. It was huge,” White said.

The seniors on the team also stepped up huge for the Lady Tigers. Jenna Dirksen, Heidi Stammen and Allison Schwartz were all a calming presence for the team.

White said the seniors stepped up when it was close in the first half and held the team together. They were communicating in the huddle and reassuring everyone they will get into a groove soon.

Stammen also played a big role in the defense picking up their intensity in the second half. White said Stammen is a great communicator and the team matched the intensity Stammen plays with.

Versailles led 26-19 at halftime. In the first few minutes of the second half, they went on an 8-2 run to get momentum on their side.

The defense took away the perimeter in the third quarter. White said they changed some things up to make sure Haupt didn’t hit much more from beyond the arc.

The Lady Tigers grew their lead, but didn’t quite put them away. They led 43-27 after the third quarter, but were starting to roll offensively.

Then the Lady Tigers sealed the game with a big fourth quarter. They started the quarter on a 9-0 run and held Brookville scoreless for the first four minutes. The Lady Blue Devils were held to two points in the fourth quarter.

Versailles were humming offensively. Even if they missed their first shot, they were after the offensive rebound and made some second chance buckets. White said the team has taken more pride in offensive rebounding and are making it a point to at least get a hand on those rebounds.

Dirksen led with 17 points. Junior Taylor Wagner had 13 points and Bergman finished with nine points. Nine different players scored for Versailles.

Next up for Versailles will be the two seed, the undefeated Waynesville Lady Spartans. On Dec. 30, Versailles lost at Waynesville 47-44.

It was a close game that White thought the team should have had. But, White is ready to face them again and knows her team needs to be locked in if they want to even the score.

“It’s one of those games that I feel like got away from us that we should have won. It’s going to be a fun one. It’s going to be a battle,” White said. “I could envision this gym being packed Tuesday night. We got a few days. We got to get ready and got to give it all we got.”

Versailles has improved since that game. White said they have gotten more comfortable playing at a fast pace and aren’t turning over the ball as much.

The rematch will be on Feb. 27 back at Covington High School. The game is originally set for 7:30 p.m., but both schools will have their boys team playing their playoff game at the same time and date.

There could be a potential time switch or date moved to accommodate both schools. We will update if either of those games are moved on our Facebook page, The Daily Advocate.

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

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