MARIA STEIN – Even though her team beat Marion Local 52-32 Thursday night, Versailles girls basketball coach Jacki Stonebraker was frustrated that the Tigers didn’t match the Flyers’ intensity.
“The intensity, it wasn’t there,” Stonebraker said. “And it’s just so frustrating because you see all that talent out there on the court and without their intensity they have nothing. That’s something that we’ve got to thrive on and know that we’re good at, is our intensity. And when it’s not there it’s very evident.”
In the opening minutes Marion’s edge in intensity showed as the Flyers scored the game’s first 6 points, helping them build an 11-6 lead.
“Defensively we just stunk it up tonight,” Stonebraker said. “We talked about shooters all week, about how they can shoot the 3, the outside shot. Get out on the shooters. Guards, you can help. Let the posts take care of the posts. And we didn’t do any of that in the first four minutes of the game. I tell the girls, you’re a good team, but you’re not a good team when you don’t play hard. We were not playing hard defensively. And when we don’t play hard defensively our offense also stinks it up because we can’t get any of those transition baskets that we like.”
After the slow start, Versailles picked up its play midway through the first quarter and took its first lead of the night on a Danielle Winner basket with 2:52 remaining in the quarter. Versailles, which finished the opening period on a 13-0 run, held the lead the rest of the game.
The Tigers’ domination continued in the second quarter as they scored the period’s first 8 points, increasing their lead to 27-11. By halftime Versailles was up 30-13 having held Marion Local to just two free throws the entire second quarter.
“I said that’s how you’ve got to play every single quarter, all the time,” Stonebraker said.
Versailles’ intensity dropped off a bit in the third quarter, and the Flyers outscored the Tigers 13-12 in the period to cut Versailles’ advantage to 42-26.
But in the fourth quarter Versailles got going strong again, scoring the first 6 points of the period to increase its lead to a game-high 22 points on its way to a 20-point Midwest Athletic Conference victory, 52-32.
Versailles’ Kami McEldowney led all scorers on the night with 18 points.
“She really picked it up in the end of the third into the fourth quarter,” Stonebraker said. “She was winded, and she was tired. And I looked at her, I said, ‘Are you having fun?’ And she smiled. She was having a lot of fun because she was getting after it.”
Also for the Tigers, Danielle Winner scored 8 points, Elizabeth Ording scored 5, Mallory Marshal scored 4, Emily Langenkamp scored 3, Kami Ording scored 3, Camille Watren scored 3, Lindsey Winner scored 3, Brynna Blakeley scored 2, Clair Schmitmeyer scored 2, and Ellen Peters scored 1 to round of the Tigers’ balanced scoring attack.
“All these girls have got specific things that they can do, and they have to remember that that’s what we need out of them,” Stonebraker said. “Every girl has got their strength.”
Macey Griesdorn led Marion Local with 11 points. Also for the Flyers, Kara Evers scored 8 points, Sarah Fesenmyer scored 7, Natalie Rethman scored 4, and Chloe Bertke scored 2.
Versailles improved to 12-1 overall and 5-0 in the MAC with Thursday’s win while Marion Local fell to 6-6 overall and 2-2 in the conference.
Versailles will return to action on Saturday against Russia before games against Tippecanoe and Fort Recovery next week.
“We’ve got a brutal schedule coming up, but that’s why I like playing these games,” Stonebraker said. “Marion Local played until the very end of the game, from tipoff to the end of the game. We just need to keep our intensity. We need to learn how to play that hard all the time as well.”
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.