CLAYTON – The seventh-seeded Versailles Tigers pulled off the upset by knocking fifth-seeded Twin Valley South out of the Division III sectional tournament on Tuesday night, 53-45.
The Tigers never trailed in the game improving to 13-10 in the season while the Panthers bow out with a 20-4 record. Versailles will now lock horns with the Brookville, another 20-win team who dispatched Indian Lake, 52-30 in the earlier game.
Versailles was led by the powerful inside moves of Evan Hiestand, who had 20 points, and quick guard Ryan Martin, who posted 12 points. Twin Valley South, who were the Cross County Conference champs with an 11-1 record, were led by the double duo of Willie Bowman and Cole Petersen with 15 and 13 points respectively, accounting for just over half of the Panthers 45 point game total. TVS normally averages 63 points per contest, but were held in check by the Tigers defense.
The first quarter started off with a three by Martin and the Tigers never looked back in establishing leads of 5-2 and 12-6 before South retaliated with a bucket at the end of the quarter for a four-point cushion at 12-8. South had Petersen but nobody else to go with him as he made his four buckets underneath for all 8 Panther points. Versailles was more democratic with its points pushing the ball around and had Martin with 5 followed by Connor VanSkyock with a triple and Hiestand with a deuce.
The second quarter saw the Tigers with plenty of fuel in their tank as they splashed in 14 points, while holding the Panther attack to just six to create a 12-point advantage at 26 -14. The Tigers went on a 6 -0 spurt at the 6:30 mark turning a 14-10 lead into a 20-10 double digit advantage with 3:30 to go. However, the Tigers were not done as they scored six of the last seven markers to go up by 8 at the break. South only had Cade Cottongim and Bowman to lead them with a deuce. Hiestand was the highlight for the Tigers as he pounded the Panthers for eight to deflate the squad from Preble County.
The third quarter was the most even of the game as South got its shooters back on track and connected for a baker’s dozen of 13, while Versailles held steady and firm with 12 to still be up by 11. Versailles biggest lead of the game came at the 6:06 mark when they were up 33-16. However, South slowly chipped away and sliced the lead down with their lone 3 of the game by Bowman. Petersen and Jayden Bassler lead their assault with 4 points apiece, along with Bowman’s triple. Versailles brought another weapon from its arsenal in Michael Stammen, who popped in 7 with two from inside the arc and 3-of-4 from the charity stripe.
The Panthers showed why they are the CCC champs and that 20 wins is not a fluke as they unleashed their best quarter of the evening with 18 points in the fourth period, while the Tigers churned out only three less with 15. Churning out the points for Tony Augsperger’s squad was Bowman who did everything in his power to keep the season afloat with 10 in eight minutes of action. Bassler and Brayden Marker chipped in three apiece, but no other Panthers could dent the scoreboard. South did get it down to 42-38 at the 4:29 mark by going on an 11-4 scoring spree. However, a big bucket by Hiestand underneath was enough to stem the tide as the Panthers would threaten no more. The Tigers scored 11 out of the next 18 to salt the game away. Hiestand led the way with 10 points with three buckets and four important freebies. Stammen, Martin and Nate Johnson all hit important free throws as nine were made in all at crunch time.
“This was a total team win for us as Connor VanSkyock and Austin Toner all did a great job. We played our style of defense and did not give them any second chance opportunities. Hiestand was real consistent tonight and Stammen handled the ball real well and ran the show. They made only one three the whole game and were only 6 of 23 the first half. We are a young team with only one senior and we look forward to advancing in the tournament as we have scrimmaged Brookville and also watched them play against South,” Versailles coach Travis Swank said.
Scoring for Twin Valley South – Bassler 8, Marker 3, Cottongim 4, Osborn 2, Bowman 15 and Petersen 13 for 45 points. One triple, 17 regulars and 8 out of 13 from the line for 62 percent.
Scoring for Versailles – Johnson 1, Stammen 9, Dakota Naftzger 2, Martin 12, Hiestand 20, VanSkyock 9 for 53 points. Four triples, 13 deuces and 15 out of 26 freebies for 58 percent.