ARCANUM – The Versailles Lady Tigers’ 57-47 victory over the Arcanum Lady Trojans was not your run-of –the-mill Monday evening girls basketball game.
This one had a special feel about it. The visitors were well represented by a large turnout of fans instead of the usual handful than seem to follow a girls team on the road. The Arcanum fans filled many of the home side seats as well. The pep band was even there entertaining the crowd.
Both teams entered the contest winning five of their last six games. Each on a winning streak, Versailles four and Arcanum three, with Lady Tigers now 8-4 and averaging 56.7 points per game and the Lady Trojans 6-3 and averaging 47.4 points per game . This looked to be a good night of basketball, and it did not disappoint.
Versailles opened the scoring with a field goal by Danielle Winner. A quick turnover caused by the Lady Tiger press allowed Kami McEldowney to connect on a three-ball to quickly jump out to a 5-0 lead.
Arcanum would not allow this to become a breakaway run as the Lady Trojans exchanged baskets before a Rebecca Deao 3-point play to bring the score to 7-5.
As the teams alternated scores Winner would pick up her second foul of the game. This caused Versailles to use some different players to defend Arcanum’s inside personnel
“The guards that came in, Ellen (Peters), Logan (Shimp) and Kami Ording. We guarded their bigs very well with them,” Versailles coach Jackie Stonebraker said.
Just before the clock hit 0:00 McEldowney shot the ball from nearly three-quarter court, and the ball found the bottom of the net for three points to give the Lady Tigers a 16-11 advantage.
The second quarter would see the pace of the game quicken. Versailles likes to play at an up-tempo pace, and that’s what began to happen. Fast-break opportunities began to occur, and the Trojans, who at first struggled with the new speed, quickly adapted and even began getting break-out chances of their own. When the game was played in the half-court, the Lady Tigers began to make an extra pass inside to find the open player for close-in looks. The play was very intense and at intermission Versailles held a 32-26 lead.
“We knew it would be tough,” Arcanum coach Matt Grote said. “We knew Versailles would come out and pressure us all game and play really hard and would have to match that intensity to stay with them and for the most part we did and we gave it a good game.”
The struggle continued in the third period. Winner and Lauren Monnin did most of the scoring for Versailles while the Trojans used a very balanced attack. Arcanum would win the quarter 13-11 but still trail 43-39.
“We didn’t really give up a lot of points to (Stevie) Johnting and (Alexis) Abner, but everybody was just efficient,” Coach Stonebraker said. “You have to know it’s not just one or two players when you play Arcanum. It’s the whole team.”
The fourth quarter opened with a Camille Watren field goal to push the Lady Tigers’ lead to 45-39. Arcanum would counter with consecutive baskets from Madison O’Daniel and Johnting to cut the deficit to just two at 45-43 with 5:42 remaining.
Versailles called a timeout and regained its defensive composure as the Tigers held the Lady Trojans scoreless for the next four minutes. The Lady Tigers went on a seven-point spurt during this time to create a lead, 52-43, that Arcanum could not overcome.
Versailles was 17 of 43 from the floor on the evening, including 3 of 8 from behind the arc. The Tigers grabbed 25 rebounds and committed 14 turnovers. The Lady Tigers were 20 of 30 at the charity stripe.
Arcanum shot 20 of 40 from the field with 1 of 8 of those from long distance. The Trojans had 17 rebounds and turned the ball over 11 times. The Lady Trojans were 6 of 8 from the free throw line.
Versailles raised its record to 9-4 overall, 1-3 in the Midwest Athletic Conference, with the win while Arcanum dropped to 6-4 overall and 4-2 in the Cross County Conference.
“This was a measuring game. We’re going to see where we’re at. Figure out what we have to do to get better. We have about a week and a half to get ready for Russia,” Coach Grote said. “Go back and look at everything and evaluate and go from there.”
Speaking about the reason for her team’s five-game winning streak Coach Stonebraker said, “Confidence, absolutely confidence. They know they can do what we want them to do. Bigs are scoring inside and are more of a threat inside and are taking pressure off of our guards.”
Versailles won the junior varsity game 66-34. The Lady Tigers’ JV is now 10-2 and Arcanum is 6-4.
McEldowney 14, Watren 7, Langston 5, Ording 3, Peters 2, Shimp 2, Winner 12, Monnin 12.
Ross 4, Siculan 5, Abner 12, Johnting 10, Sharritts 5, O’Daniel 6, Deao 5.
3-pointers: Vers: 3 (McEldowney 2, Ording); Arc: 1 (Siculan)
Free throws: Vers 20-30; Arc 6-8