Versailles boys basketball cruise through Gamble Montessori for District Championship


By Drew Terhall

DAYTON — The 11th seed Versailles Tigers are District Champions. They defeated two seed James Gamble Montessori on March 6 at University of Dayton Arena in the OHSAA Division III Boys Basketball Southwest District Final, 74-55.

Head coach Travis Swank said words can’t describe how proud he is of his team for earning this accomplishment.

“Our kids did what we asked them to do. Just looking at the stats right now, we controlled the glass all night long. We always want to keep our turnovers at 10 or less and we were right at 12,” Swank said. “Shot a great percentage from the field, got to the free throw a heck of a lot. There’s a lot of good things here tonight.”

The Tigers started out hot going on an 8-0 run to start the game off. Eventually, the Gators came back to make it a game.

After they closed the gap in the first quarter, Gamble Montessori took a lead in the second quarter. That was short lived as Versailles went on a run immediately after.

It all started with the defense. Once they were able to get a turnover or get a stop, they pushed the pace and got easy points in transition.

The Gators left the middle lane open for the Tigers to attack and get easy layups. Versailles also got around the rim and got to the line often. They had 14 free throw attempts in the second quarter.

Junior Jace Watren drained two free throws at the end of the second quarter to up the Tigers up 36-26 at halftime.

Swank said the offense played loose, which led to the team being aggressive pushing the ball up the floor. He also said sophomore Drake Ahrens did a great job facilitating the offense and controlling the pace.

“We played without fear. That’s what it came down to. They played with a lot of heart, a lot of intensity and played without fear. You can’t go into a district and be fearful,” Swank said.

The Gators chipped away at the lead a little bit in the third quarter. They went on a 6-0 run to make it a 44-37 game after being down double digits for the start of the quarter.

But in the final few minutes, Versailles went on a 10-0 run to go up 54-37 entering the fourth quarter. Swank said they switched up defenses in the middle of the game and were able to frustrate Gamble Montessori.

It also helped the Tigers controlled the glass. They out-rebounded the Gators, 38-21. Senior Carson Heitkamp out-rebounded the Gators himself as he had 22 rebounds.

Swank said Heitkamp has played a big role in their tournament success as he keeps improving after each game.

“He played like a man all night long on the glass. Did a tremendous job scoring for us too. That kid has really developed as the season has gone on,” Swank said.

In the fourth quarter, the offense continued to fire on all cylinders and the defense still held of Gamble Montessori.

Versailles scored 74 points in the game without making a three-point shot. Gamble Montessori was 7 for 14 from three-point range. The Tigers beat them with toughness and a fast paced offense.

Watren led with 22 points. Heitkamp and senior AJ Griesdorn each had 16 points. Ahrens chipped in 14 points. Sophomore Ethan Wilker had six points that all came at crucial times for Versailles.

The Tigers will take on three seed Cincinnati Mariemont on March 13 at 8 p.m. at Kettering Fairmont High School at Trent Arena in the Regional Semifinal.

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

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