ST. HENRY – Versailles dominated the second half Thursday night, turning what was a close game in the first half into an easy 69-44 Midwest Athletic Conference win for the Lady Tigers.
Versailles’ defense overwhelmed St. Henry, which created fast-break opportunities for the Tiger offense and allowed them to pull away from their conference foe.
“Came out with some fire and some enthusiasm and everybody was all in,” Versailles girls basketball coach Jacki Stonebraker said. “Everybody, all five girls, were all in on the press, and that’s what it takes.”
Versailles’ press created havoc for St. Henry early in the game, and the beneficiary on the offensive end for the Tigers was Lauren Monnin, who scored 10 points in the opening quarter with multiple uncontested layups.
“A lot of little layups, and that’s how we like to run our offense,” said Stonebraker, whose team forced 25 turnovers on the night. “We like the fast-break layups from our defense.”
Kami McEldowney also added five points in the period for Versailles – including its first two and final three – to help the Tigers build a 15-11 lead.
St. Henry started to build some momentum in the second quarter and scored 10 of the first 15 points in the period to claim its only lead of the night at 21-20 with 2:49 remaining in the half.
“I thought that second quarter was really sloppy,” Stonebraker said. “We had a lot of just misguided passes, passes that were too close to each other.”
St. Henry only held the lead for 20 seconds, however, as Danielle Winner scored to reclaim the lead for the Tigers, who scored 13 of the final 19 points in the quarter to go into halftime up 33-27.
Versailles’ press again caused major problems for St. Henry in the second half as the Tigers scored the first eight points of the third quarter to take firm control of the game.
Communication in the locker room at halftime seemed to carry over onto the court, Stonebraker said, and helped the Tigers come out strong.
“I noticed in the locker room before I walked in that all the girls were talking,” the Versailles coach said. “They were talking to each other; they were telling each other little things to help each other out.”
Led by 13 points from Monnin, Versailles dominated the third quarter 22-6 to go up 55-33.
“Nice game by Lauren,” Stonebraker said. “And she didn’t play the whole second quarter and probably half the fourth quarter so that’s two-and-a-half quarters worth and she had a career night tonight. She played awesome.”
With the game in control, Versailles rested its starters for most of the fourth quarter. With the backups playing a majority of the period the Tigers still outscored St. Henry 14-11 to claim a 69-44 MAC victory.
Monnin led Versailles with a game-high 23 points on Thursday. Also for the Tigers, McEldowney scored 13 points, Winner scored nine, Kami Ording scored six, Emily Langenkamp scored four, Emily Marshal scored four, Clair Schmitmeyer scored four, Brynna Blakeley scored two, Ellen Peters scored two, and Camille Watren scored two.
Ellie Stammen led St. Henry with 14 points while Nikki Keller scored 10, Kendra Rose scored seven, Jacey King scored six, Cara Brockman scored four, and Alexis Ontrop scored three.
Versailles improved to 10-5 overall and 2-3 in the MAC with Thursday’s win while St. Henry fell to 3-9 overall and 0-4 in the MAC.
Versailles now has a week off before playing host to conference foe Fort Recovery, who is 9-2 overall and 4-0 in the MAC.
Kyle Shaner may be reached at 937-569-4316. Follow me on Twitter @KShanerAdvocate or get updates on Facebook by searching Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com.