Versailles boys basketball tournament run ends in Regional Finals


By Drew Terhall

KETTERING — The postseason run has ended for the Versailles boys basketball team. The 11th seeded Tigers finish as OHSAA Division III Regional runner-ups as they lost 53-32 to the three seed Preble Shawnee at Trent Arena at Kettering Fairmont on March 16.

Head coach Travis Swank said they couldn’t get going against a tough, defensive team led by a Ohio Mr. Basketball finalist in senior Mason Shrout.

“They’re a talented team for a reason. They got one of the best players around in our area, especially at our level. He makes them go. I thought we made him work hard for everything, but he was very good tonight,” Swank said. “We talked about it Wednesday, I think their defense is very underrated. It causes teams more problems.”

Both teams started out hot defensively. After only making one three pointer in the last two games, Versailles drained two in the four minutes of the game.

The defenses settled in as the quarter went on. Preble Shawnee held a 14-11 lead after the opening quarter.

Then, the Arrows started to take over. As the game went on, the Tigers started to get cold from the field. The offense couldn’t get outside shots to fall and were missing some inside shots.

Swank said when the outside shots weren’t falling, Preble Shawnee started to clog the inside which gave them problems.

The Arrows grew their lead and led 24-13 at halftime. Versailles finished the first half shooting 21.7% from the field.

But Versailles came out swinging. Junior Jace Watren scored five straight points to make it a six-point game. They were able to get some momentum after a bad second quarter.

The Arrows responded and were able to gain back their 11 point lead before the third quarter was over. Shrout capitalized an Arrow run with a four-point play.

Swank said throughout the game, they gave up critical points at critical times. When they were digging themselves out of a hole, they couldn’t get a stop here and there to maintain momentum.

The Arrows defense continued to bother them in the half-court offense. The length of Preble Shawnee made it difficult for Versailles to do a lot of damage inside the paint. Swank said in their losses this season, the opposing teams used their length to contain their offense.

That was a contributing factor to the Tigers cold shooting night.

“Worse time to have a worse shooting game tonight. We’ve been fortunate here, even before the tournament, we’ve been shooting at a higher clip. Just wasn’t meant to be here tonight because of their defense. Really, that’s where the credit goes to,” Swank said.

Preble Shawnee closed it out as they continued to stay hot from three-point range. They shot 52.9% from three in the game. All while remaining physical on the defensive end.

Swank said the referees allowed both teams to be physical and they needed to finish through contact inside better.

Watren led with 10 points. Senior Carson Heitkamp had six points with 11 rebounds.

The team will graduate seniors AJ Griesdorn, Gabe White and Heitkamp.

Swank said White has been a great player for them coming off the bench and has made strides as a player and a leader this season.

Heitkamp got an opportunity to start after not playing much last season. Swank said Heitkamp has played great this season, especially this past month, and has shown his growth throughout the season.

Griesdorn was the only returning starter between the seniors. Swank said they gave Griesdorn a bigger role this season and should be proud of what he has accomplished not only with the basketball program, but with football and baseball as well.

All three seniors grew as players and as people during their time in the program.

“All three of them are fine young men and they’re going to be very successful in life,” Swank said.

Versailles finishes their season with a 15-12 record and a 4-5 MAC record. They did earn a District Championship this season.

Contact Daily Advocate sports editor at [email protected]

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