SPRINGFIELD – Versailles throttled previously undefeated Summit Country Day 50-33 on Saturday to earn its third trip to the state final four in the past four years.
Summit Country Day entered Saturday’s regional championship game at Springfield High School with a 27-0 record and ranked No. 1 in the state by the Associated Press, but the Tigers made the Silver Knights look far from perfect. Versailles scored the first 8 points of the afternoon and never let up, quickly erasing any doubts about the outcome of the contest.
“Every girl wants to play in an atmosphere like this, and we did. And we played well,” Versailles girls basketball coach Jacki Stonebraker said. “It was a complete team effort. I can’t say enough about this team.”
It took just 19 seconds for Versailles to gain the lead on a Kami McEldowney basket – a lead the Tigers never relinquished. Danielle Winner and Elizabeth Ording scored the game’s next 6 points to put Versailles up 8-0 and give a preview of what was to come the rest of the day – the Tigers’ complete control of the inside game.
“Danielle did all the scoring, all the points inside, but Elizabeth … if you don’t have Elizabeth under there to take some of that pressure away you don’t have Danielle scoring all of those points,” Stonebraker said. “Just the one-two punch inside.”
After being held scoreless the first four minutes of the game Summit Country Day finally got a point on a free throw and almost five minutes into the contest made its first field goal to reduce its deficit to 10-3.
But the Knights couldn’t sustain any momentum as the Tigers continued to pour it on and by the end of the opening quarter led 21-7.
Versailles led by double digits for the rest of the game. By halftime the advantage was almost 20 points at 31-12.
Versailles, which led by as many as 22 points in the third quarter, finished the period up 40-20 on their way to a 17-point victory.
McEldowney led Versailles with a game-high 17 points while Winner scored 16.
“She brought the A-game,” Stonebraker said of Winner. “She’s ready to go. All of our posts are. All of our girls are. They’re so excited.”
Also for the Tigers, Elizabeth Ording scored 8 points, Clair Schmitmeyer scored 4, Brynna Blakeley scored 3, and Kami Ording scored 2.
Alea Harris led Summit Country Day with 12 points. Also for the Silver Knights, Ravin Alexander scored 11 points, Rachel Martin scored 5, Niah Woods scored 3, and Kerri Daniel scored 2.
Versailles now advances to the state final four of the OHSAA tournament for the eighth time in program history and the third time in the past four years. In 2015, the last time the Tigers made it to Columbus, they brought home the Division III state championship.
“It’s every girl’s dream,” Stonebraker said of the Tigers making it to the state final four. “I can remember back, and I tell these girls this all the time, I say back in the day I went as a freshman and had no idea what I was experiencing. We always said we’ll get back, we’ll get back, and we never got that chance. I said you can’t have any regrets.
“They take it to heart, and they play every game with so much emotion, so much intensity and so much energy.”
Versailles will play Sardinia Eastern in the state semifinals at 3 p.m. Friday at The Ohio State University’s Jerome Schottenstein Center in Columbus. The winner will advance to the Division III state championship game on March 18.
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.