SPRINGFIELD – Williamsburg got off to a hot start Wednesday night, but Versailles dominated the final three quarters on its way to a 70-27 victory in the Ohio High School Athletic Association regional semifinals.
After trailing 16-11 at the end of the first quarter, Versailles outscored Williamsburg 59-11 the rest of the game to secure a spot in the elite eight of the OHSAA Division III girls basketball tournament.
“I told the girls in the locker room after the game, I said, ‘Everybody is after you. Everybody wants to play their best game against you. They’re going to start hitting from everywhere. You just have to trust in our game plan and you have to keep on firing away throughout the entire game. You have to play 32 minutes. A lot of teams can stay with you for eight, 10, 12, 15 minutes, 24 minutes. You’ve got to keep on running because we can. We’ve got a lot of depth, and we’re just going to keep going.’ And I felt like our depth really showed tonight,” Versailles coach Jacki Stonebraker said.
Williamsburg came out on fire in the first quarter and made four 3-pointers in the first eight minutes of the game. Emily Brown led the charge for the Wildcats as she scored 10 points in the opening frame, which included two of the team’s four triples.
However, Versailles held Brown scoreless the rest of the night and there was no one to pick up the slack for Williamsburg.
Versailles outscored Williamsburg 12-1 in the first four minutes of the second quarter to build a 23-17 lead, a lead the Tigers held the rest of the night.
“That was a lot of excitement off our bench; that was excitement from the crowd,” Stonebraker said. “We just kind of kept rolling. I just feel like when we get to our high we can play pretty good basketball. It’s just we’ve just got to get there sometimes.”
By halftime Versailles had extended its lead to 32-21 and was rolling.
After slowing Williamsburg down in the second quarter, Versailles completely shut down the Wildcats in the third. The Tigers outscored the Wildcats 27-1 in the period to increase their advantage to 60-22.
Danielle Kunk came off the bench and hit five 3-pointers for Versailles, including two in the final 40 seconds of the third quarter, as she finished the night with a game-high 15 points.
“She was a great spark off our bench,” Stonebraker said. “One of those times I think she was afraid to shoot it, and I said, ‘Lock it in and shoot. Call for the ball. You’re in the zone right now. Let’s get some more points out of you.’ So she can be a little timid, and that was a great game for her.”
With Versailles up by 35 points, the OHSAA’s new continuous clock was in effect throughout the entire fourth quarter, which cut down on the scoring. Still the Tigers’ backups were able to add to the lead and closed out the 70-27 victory.
Kunk finished the night with her game-high 15 points. Also for the Tigers, Caitlin McEldowney scored 11 points, Lindsey Winner scored 11, Danielle Winner scored 7, Kami McEldowney scored 6, Elizabeth Ording scored 4, Ellen Peters scored 4, Savannah Toner scored 4, Kelsey Custenborder scored 3, Hailey McEldowney scored 2, Caitlyn Luthman scored 2, and Mallory Marshal scored 1.
Brown led Williamsburg with her 10 points. Also for the Wildcats, Jessica Chase scored 6 points, Katie Ervin scored 4, Peyton Fisher scored 3, Madi Ogden scored 2, Laurin Ellis scored 1, and Camille McManus scored 1.
Versailles now advances to the regional finals, which will be held at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at Springfield High School. The Tigers will battle Waynesville for a spot in the state final four.
“We want to enjoy this win tonight, but we’ve got our work cut out for us on Saturday,” Stonebraker said.
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.