By Rob Kiser
It was a nearly perfect start to the final week of the regular season heading into postseason play for Versailles girls basketball coach Jacki Stonebraker.
And a perfect way to celebrate Senior Night.
Versailles, 16-3, second seed in the Franklin Monroe D-III sectional and ranked eighth in the state hosted Tri-Village, 19-0, the top seed in the Brookville D-IV sectional and ranked second in the state.
And the Lady Tigers met every challenge in a convincing 54-38 win to hand the Lady Patriots their first loss of the season. Versailles now closes the season with two road tests — at St. Henry in MAC Thursday and at Jackson Center Saturday. Those Tigers are the top seed in the D-IV sectional.
“I think so,” Stonebraker said when asked if Versailles is ready for the postseason. “You know, we play a tough schedule in the MAC. But, there are some other strong teams in the area and this is why we play them. It definitely does (get you ready for the tournament).”
And it started with the six Versailles seniors — Camille Watren, Brynna Blakeley, Emily Langenkamp, Kami Ording, Bailey Huffman and Clair Schmitmeyer — who handled the first four minutes. When, Versailles began substituting, the Lady Tigers were in front 6-5.
“They go up against the other girls every day in practice,” Stonebraker said. “So, they are ready every time they get in a game and they did a great job.”
In fact, Kami Ording hit three shots from behind the arc in four attempts in the opening half.
“That was awesome,” Stonebraker said with a big smile. “When I saw her square up with her feet on that first one, I said ‘That is in. It’s in. It was great because she is kind of that unsung girl that no one knows about — that doesn’t show up on scouting reports.”
The third one had given Versailles a 12-9 lead early in the second quarter.
After Peyton Bietry scored for Tri-Village to make it 12-11, junior guard Kami McEldowney accelerated to the basket on three straight possessions. She was fouled on the first and made one of two free throws, them made two straight layups to give Versailles a 17-11 lead.
“I think it made all the other girls realize we could play transition basketball,” Stonebraker said.
Lindsey Winner, a 6-1 freshman, gave Versailles a spark with 10 points and four rebounds off the bench.
With four seconds to go in the half and Versailles leading 22-20, Lindsey Winner caught an inbounds pass and just beat the buzzer.
“She didn’t play like a freshman tonight did she,” Stonebraker said. “She made some plays on defense, hit some shots, rebounded, even helped us get the ball up the court a few times.”
Elizabeth Ording came up with some big plays inside, while Danielle Winner, Watren and McEldowney had some nice assists.
The Lady Tigers never looked back in the second half, opening a 39-24 led after three quarters and staying in control.
One play summed up the game for the Tigers.
After Watren missed a shot and Tri-Village garnered the rebound, Watren never gave up on the play. She stripped the ball, grabbed it on the floor and tossed it to McEldowney for a layup.
And in the end, while it was hardly a perfect game on offense, the Lady Tigers defense stymied Tri-Village all night.
“I can’t remember them scoring one basket in transition,” Stonebraker said. “We talked about being aware of 14 (Emma Printz) and 20 (Allie Downing) and letting them get going. We have talked to the girls about the fact you are not always going to shoot the ball well — that defense is going to be the difference.
“We held that team to 38 points — and I think they were averaging 70. That’s pretty good.”
McEldowney led Versailles with 13 points.
Ording joined Lindsey Winner in double figures with 10, while Danielle Winner and Elizabeth Ording each grabbed seven rebounds.
Downing led Tri-Village with nine points and 11 rebounds, while Danika Mann had eight points and seven rebounds.
Versailles was 17 of 52 from the floor for 33 percent and 16 of 30 from the line for 53 percent.
Tri-Village was 13 of 41 from the floor for 32 percent and seven of 11 from the line for 64 percent.
Versailles won the battle of the boards 40-32 and had 16 turnovers to the Lady Patriots 21.
All which added up to a nearly perfect night as Versailles begins its drive to the postseason.
Rachel Miller 1-0-3, Emma Printz 1-1-3, Trisa Porter 3-0-6, Allie Downing 3-0-9, Danika Mann 2-4-8, Edie Morris 0-1-1, Peyton Bietry 2-1-5, Autumn Moore 0-0-0, Lissa Siler 1-0-3, Andi Bietry 0-0-0. Totals: 13-7-38.
Brynna Blakeley 1-1-4, Emily Langenkamp 0-0-0, Kami Ording 3-1-10, Bailey Huffman 0-0-0, Clair Schmitmeyer 1-1-3, Camille Watren 0-2-2, Kami McEldowney 4-5-13, Danielle Winner 1-1-3, Elizabeth Ording 2-3-7, Ellen Peters 0-2-2, Lindsey Winner 5-0-10, Mallory Marshal 0-0-0. Totals: 17-16-54.
3-point field goals — Tri-Village: Miller, Downing (3), Siler. Versailles: Blakeley, Kami Ording (30.
Score By Quarters
Tri-Village 9 20 24 38
Versailles 0 24 39 54
Records: Tri-Village 19-1, Versailles 17-3.