VERSAILLES – After trailing by four at halftime on senior night Versailles exchanged its ball pressuring man-to-man defense for a zone to shut down Madi Schulte from Delphos St. John’s, who connected on three late second quarter 3-pointers, to secure a 36-29 victory.
Schulte, the Midwest Athletic Conference’s leading scorer at 14.2 points per game and with a league-high 43 made triples, jump-started an 11-0 comeback in the second quarter that took the Lady Blue Jays from a 15-8 deficit to a 19-15 intermission lead in the MAC game Thursday evening.
“We had to shut them down from the outside,” Versailles girls basketball coach Jacki Stonebraker said, “and the only way I figured we could do that was with our zone. We didn’t think they had a lot of inside presence and thought Danielle (Winner) could take care of the inside paint. We went ahead and went zone again. I felt like it kind of threw them off.”
The zone was so effective that it only surrendered four points in the third quarter. Delphos’ first two points came on their only field goal of the entire second half. The offense that worked against the man to man was stymied by the zone, and the re-energized defense was not allowing Schulte or other Blue Jays into shooting range when they ran their zone offense.
The Delphos defense was good in its own right, limiting Versailles to only 10 points in the period. Winner and Lauren Monnin twice alternated baskets and a Camille Watren field goal gave the Lady Tigers a 25-23 lead heading into the final stanza.
In the fourth quarter it was Versailles’ turn to have a run. The Lady Tigers sprang out on a 10-2 burst. The first four courtesy of Winner and the final six contributed by Watren. This pushed the score to 35-25 with 54.6 seconds remaining and the game in little doubt.
Versailles opened the game with a starting lineup that consisted of its five seniors. Guards Kristin Langston and Logan Shimp were joined by forwards Haley Winner, Lauren Monnin and Emily Marshal.
“This is a special group,” Coach Stonebraker said. “They mean a lot.”
The festive mood was short lived as sophomore point guard Kami McEldowney was injured late in the first quarter. She would be out the rest of the game.
“That’s a big change when she’s out there most of the game,” Stonebraker said. “We had to change things up. Kind of slow things down a bit … she makes us go.”
Versailles closes out the regular season with the win to go 16-6 and 5-4 in the MAC. Coach Stonebraker likes heading into the tournament with a victory.
“You don’t have to worry about that loss,” she said. “What did we do wrong? How do we make it right? It’s more about we’re set. We’re ready. Let’s play the last eight games.
“Everyone is 0-0,” she continued. “Doesn’t matter what record we have. Doesn’t matter what record our opponent has. We have to go out and play 32 minutes.”
Delphos St. John’s – 29
Bacome 3, Zuber 4, Schulte 11, R Pohlman 2, Geise 4, Hays 2, Fischbach 3.
Versailles – 36
Watren 8, Langston 2, K Ording 3, Shimp 2, Winner 8, Monnin 13.
3-pointers: DSJ: 3(Schulte); Vers: 1(K Ording).
Free throws: DSJ: 8-10; Vers: 7-12.