VERSAILLES – The Fort Recovery Lady Indians rolled into Versailles looking to improve upon their No. 16 ranking in the latest Division III state basketball poll.
They launched an early 10-2 salvo at the Lady Tigers, combining timely offense with a strong, turnover-producing defense that would propel them to a 47-37 Midwestern Athletic Conference victory Thursday night.
“They went on a couple of runs. Felt like those runs were the things that beat us,” Versailles girls basketball coach Jacki Stonebraker said. “We’ve got to control these runs offensively of the other team. If we can do that I think we can do a lot of damage.”
Fort Recovery led after the first quarter 12-4 thanks to a balanced scoring attack that saw four players mark the scorebook. Versailles had a difficult time possessing the ball to get into its offensive sets and when it did, the presence of 6-foot 2-inch Kendra Siefring and 6-foot Whitney Will forced the Lady Tigers to alter their shots.
“We’re going to miss some here and there,” Coach Stonebraker said. “We’ve got to be put ourselves in position to get the rebound. We shoot the ball under the basket for a bunny shot, and we assume it’s going to go in and run away from the ball, instead of staying to get the rebound.”
Early on in the second period Versailles seemed to find the answer at the offensive end of the floor. The Lady Tigers cut out the turnovers early on and connected on three field goals while holding down the Lady Indians attack to draw within four at 14-10 with 4:38 remaining until halftime.
A few turnovers crept back in allowing Fort Recovery to lengthen its lead, but two key Kami McEldowney 3-pointers kept Versailles close as the Tigers trailed only 23-17 at the half.
The opening 90 seconds of the third quarter played a large part in determining the outcome of the game. Fort Recovery scored on three consecutive possessions while Versailles did not even get off a shot attempt. The Lady Indians were denying the interior passes that Versailles was looking for to get easy shot attempts. Fort Recovery was showing why it was second in the MAC on defense, allowing just 35 points per game.
The Lady Tigers played nearly even for the rest of the period but found themselves trailing 38-25 going into the final quarter.
Versailles opened the period with a sense of urgency. Defensively the Tigers stepped up the pressure on the ball and hit Fort Recovery with two free throws by team high scorer Lauren Monnin, who finished with 12, and a triple by Camille Watren to cut the deficit to 38-30. The Lady Indians were once again up to the challenge. They went on a 6-0 mini run to push the lead back out to 44-30 and were never seriously threatened again.
“They are a great team,” Coach Stonebraker said. “They are 5-0 in the MAC for a reason. They have the complete package … they play hard.”
Commenting on her players’ efforts, Coach Stonebraker said, “When (Clair Schmitmeyer) came off the bench and gave us a great spark, she took the ball to the hole and got an easy two points and finished a layup. I thought that was great. Defensively, she is so tough, has long arms and is so strong. There’s a couple of girls that did the same thing.”
“Tough 12 points because it came against 6 foot and 6 foot 2 girl,” Stonebraker said about Monnin. “She really takes the ball strong to the hole. Did a nice job offensively. Defensively she is so quick, playing 25-30 min a game giving so much of her effort.”
In assessing her team, Coach Stonebraker said, “I think we’re stuck in the middle. Sometimes we play well sometimes we don’t … but it has to be full go. If we’re not all full go, it doesn’t go very good.
“We have to keep our head on our shoulders, keep believing in ourselves and what we’re trying to do.”
The victory raised the Fort Recovery record to 11-2, 5-0 in the MAC. Versailles dropped to 10-6 on the year and 2-4 in the MAC.
Versailles won the junior varsity game 47-20.
Fort Recovery – 47
Wendel 4, Thien 12, Stone 9, Siefring 11, Will 7, Kaiser 4.
Versailles – 37
McEldowney 7, Watren 3, Langston 4, Schmitmeyer 4, Winner 6, Monnin 12, Marshal 1.
3-pointers: FR: 2 (Thien 2); Vers: 4 (McEldowney 2, Watren, Langston).
Free throws: FR: 9-13; Vers: 11-14.