Versailles girls basketball upset undefeated two seed Waynesville to get back to districts


By Drew Terhall

COVINGTON — On Dec. 30, the Versailles girls basketball team lost at Waynesville 47-44. On Feb. 27, they got their revenge in the OHSAA Division III Girls Basketball Southwest District Semifinals. The fifth seed Lady Tigers left Covington with a 53-47 win and handed the two seed Lady Spartans their lone loss of their 2023-24 season.

Head coach Tracy White said after Waynesville had a big third quarter to take the lead, the team didn’t flinch. After a talk between the third and fourth quarter, the team went into the fourth composed and ready to get the win.

“We talked about the momentum shifts and how they’re going to go. They had that big third quarter and I said to the girls, ‘That’s their quarter. The next one’s ours. It’s a game of runs and now we go,’” White said. “I think the girls were all bought in and they were ready for that fourth quarter.”

It was a fast and furious first half. Both teams ran up and down the court, establishing a fast pace game.

Versailles held a slim 26-25 lead at halftime after the Lady Spartans went down the court with about four seconds left and made a lay up at the buzzer.

The Lady Tigers looked like they were going to give themselves a cushion early in the second quarter. They didn’t allow Waynesville to score until halfway through the quarter.

But, the Lady Spartans held strong and went on a small run to close the gap.

Waynesville then showed why they didn’t lose a game during the regular season. Versailles came out hot to start the third quarter and looked like they were going to take control of the game.

Then they went cold for the rest of the quarter. White said Waynesville can easily get anyone to play out of sorts at anytime in the game.

The Lady Tigers were rushing on offense and settling for an early first shot instead of working the ball around for a great shot. White said they played that third quarter like there was two minutes left in the game.

With 2:30 left in the quarter, the Lady Spartans were up 38-34. Waynesville entered the fourth quarter up 43-38.

White said with the intensity of the game slowly increasing and the atmosphere of the gym with the crowds starting to get noisy, it’s reassuring to just have someone say it’s going to be alright. The team just needed that small reminder to take a deep breath and lock in for the fourth quarter.

“They’re a great team. Their pressure is intense, they’re quick and they got good rotations. It’s easy to get shifted and just get out of sync a little bit. Sometimes it’s nice to get somebody to just say it’s okay,” White said.

Battered and bruised from a physical three quarters, the Lady Tigers came out and dominated the fourth quarter. The offense got back in rhythm and went on a 7-0 run to get the lead back with 3:23 left.

White said if they could cut their turnover number from their last matchup in half and capitalize on some of those extra opportunities, they liked their chances. They had around 30 turnovers against Waynesville in the regular season matchup and they had about 15 unofficially in this game.

The defense stepped up and suffocated Waynesville. The first fourth quarter points by the Lady Spartans came with about 1:03 left in the game.

A huge part of the defensive surge came from senior Heidi Stammen. White said Stammen goes unnoticed because the stats can’t show the impact she makes on the court.

Stammen just works her tail off everyday and does the little things that can not only spark a run, but help give her team the win. She also had a big layup in the fourth quarter to help give Versailles the lead.

“It’s unfortunate because there is not stat column for that. We recognize it in practice, we talk about it in our stats. There is no stat column to say you worked your butt off, you do the little things, you rebound and your help side defense is phenomenal. She is a glue to our team,” White said.

With the team going 8 for 8 from the free throw line, Versailles didn’t allow Waynesville to crawl back into the game late. They shut the door on them to move on to another District Championship game.

Senior Jenna Dirksen and sophomore Katey Litten both had 14 points to lead the team. Junior Taylor Wagner had 12 points.

Versailles will play their district game at Springfield High School on March 2. They will take on two seed Norwood. Tip off will be announced at a later date. We post on our Facebook page when a time is announced.

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

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