COVINGTON – After playing a brutal regular season schedule that included going unbeaten in the Midwest Athletic Conference and 21-1 overall to earn the Division III Associated Press state poll title, the postseason has been a little bit different journey for Versailles.
After wins of 76-32 and 85-13 over Southwestern Buckeye League members Dixie and Northridge, Versailles faced the Dayton Christian, the third-place finisher in the Metro Buckeye Conference, for a Covington Division III sectional title.
And for the third straight game, Versailles played much of the second half with a running clock in a 65-23 victory.
For those not wanting to do the match, that’s 226-68 over the three games in the Covington D-III sectional for the Tigers, who improved to 24-1 and will face the Purcell Marian on Saturday at Springfield. Purcell-Marion defeated East Clinton 63-35 Tuesday.
Dayton Christian closed the season at 14-10.
“We know there are tougher games ahead, and we need to be ready for those games,” Versailles girls basketball coach Jacki Stonebraker said.
And while Versailles was getting good shots early, not a lot of them were falling as the Tigers settled for an 18-6 lead after one quarter.
“We didn’t make some of the shots that we normally make early on,” Stonebraker said. “And we had some balls bounce off players’ hands. It wasn’t like we weren’t getting good shots.”
At the other end, to Dayton Christian’s credit, the Warriors were able to get some good looks inside.
But, the wall of 6-foot 2-inch Danielle Winner and Lindsey Winner and 5-11 Elizabeth Ording thwarted a lot of those opportunities.
“They did a good job of driving the ball at the basket on us,” Stonebraker said.
A free throw by Camryn Collinsworth and a basket by Kiana Klein had Dayton Christian within 19-9 early in the second quarter.
But after Lindsey Winner scored 6 points in the opening quarter, Kami McEldowney scored 10 in the second quarter and all three McEldowneys (Kami, Caitlin and Hailey) hits 3-pointers as Versailles went on a 25-3 run and led 44-14 at the break.
In the second half, Versailles put the running clock into play early on an Ording basket and the Lady Tigers cruised from there with 12 of the 15 Tigers reaching the scoring column.
Kami McEldowney led the way with 21 points while Hailey McEldowney was next with 8.
Danielle Winner grabbed seven rebounds while Ellen Peters and Ording both had five.
Only three Warriors reached the scoring column.
Klein had 12 points and five rebounds and Collinsworth added 7 points.
Versailles was 24 of 53 from the floor for 45 percent and 11 of 17 from the line for 65 percent.
Dayton Christian was eight of 22 from the floor for 36 percent and seven of 17 from the line for 42 percent.
Versailles dominated the boards 32-10 and had nine turnovers to Dayton Christian’s 28.
“I think games like this give us confidence because playing the schedule in the MAC that we did tested us mentally,” Stonebraker said.
Which will pay dividends as the games begin to get a little closer.
Dayton Christian (23)
Abbey Brown 0-0-0, Casey Darkow 1-2-4, Camryn Collinsworth 3-1-7, Becca Brown 0-0-0, Kiana Klein 4-4-12, Bailey Peterson 0-0-0, Lauren Collins 0-0-0, Destiny Rome 0-0-0, Jada Riggs 0-0-0, Ellie Maggard 0-0-0. Totals: 8-7-23.
Kami McEldowney 8-2-21, Caitlin McEldowney 2-0-5, Ellen Peters 0-1-1, Elizabeth Ording 2-2-6, Danielle Winner 1-3-5, Lindsey Winner 3-0-6, Danielle Kunk 0-3-3, Hailey McEldowney 3-0-8, Kelsey Custenborder 1-0-2, Mallory Marshal 2-0-4, Savannah Toner 0-0-0, Hannah Barga 1-0-2, Liz Watren 0-0-0, Brooke Stonebraker 1-0-2, Caitlyn Luthman 0-0-0. Totals: 24-11-65.
3-point field goals: Versailles: K. McEldowney (3), C. McEldowney, H. McEldowney (2).
Score by quarters
Dayton Christian 6 14 18 23
Versailles 18 44 57 65
Records: Dayton Christian 14-10, Versailles 24-1.
Rob Kiser is sports editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at 937-451-3334.