By Kyle Shaner
CLAYTON – Justin Ahrens surpassed the 2,000 point milestone in the Versailles boys basketball team’s 66-23 sectional tournament victory over Milton-Union on Tuesday at Northmont.
Justin Ahrens, the all-time leading scorer in Versailles and Midwest Athletic Conference history, eclipsed 2,000 career points on a basket at the rim with 5:16 remaining in the fourth quarter. That basket gave the Versailles senior 21 points on the night and 2,001 for his high school career.
“It’s a great individual accomplishment, but you know the cool thing is he came over and told the guys that he couldn’t have done it without them as well,” Versailles boys basketball coach Travis Swank said. “And that’s the God-honest truth – is that he needs everybody else around him to help him get the ball. He’s not our point guard, hasn’t been a point guard for us, so those guys are facilitating him the ball, and he’s got to move and cut, and he’s done a lot of good individual stuff to prepare himself, but he’s had a lot of good teammates throughout the years that have helped him accomplish that as well, and he recognizes that. It’s a great thing for our kids to kind of see him get that accomplishment, but you know I hope he has a few more points in him to help lead us down the road.”
Versailles got off to a quick start in the second round of the Ohio High School Athletic Association tournament and jumped out to a 21-6 lead on Milton-Union in the opening quarter. The Tigers expanded their advantage to 42-16 by halftime.
“We wanted to come out and set the tone early,” Swank said. “You know Milton was going to come in and play hard. We knew that from the get-go, but we wanted to make sure we put our best foot forward out here tonight. I think our kids played with a lot of energy, a lot of intensity. On the defensive end didn’t make anything easy. You know still a little bit stagnant at times and didn’t execute quite well on the offensive end, but you know when you play hard and you’re going after offensive rebounds or loose balls you sometimes get those misses and turn into stick-backs. Our kids just played really, really hard, I think deserved to come out with a victory here tonight.”
Versailles held Milton-Union to just two baskets in the third quarter and expanded its lead to 54-21. With 5:01 remaining in the quarter the Tigers went up by 35 points, which brought the OHSAA’s new running clock rule into effect.
Milton-Union only made one basket the entire fourth quarter, finishing the second half with just 7 points. Versailles finished out the game on a 12-0 run to win by 43 points.
Justin Ahrens led Versailles with his game-high 21 points. Also for the Tigers, Keaton McEldowney scored 13 points, AJ Ahrens scored 12, Evan Hiestand scored 7, Carter May scored 5, Kyle Jones scored 4, and Michael Stammen scored 4.
Caleb Wintrow led Milton-Union with 5 points. Also for the Bulldogs, Nathan Brumbaugh scored 4 points, William Morris scored 4, Daniel Albaugh scored 2, Sam Case scored 2, A.J. Lovin scored 2, Aaran Stone scored 2, and Blake Ullery scored 2.
Versailles now advances to play West Liberty-Salem at 4:30 p.m. Saturday at Northmont for an OHSAA sectional championship.
“We’ve got our hands full,” Swank said. “We’ve got three days to prepare for them, and hopefully we can get to the gym on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and get our frame of mind set that we’re here to mean business and take care of West Liberty on Saturday, but that’s going to be easier said than done.”
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