By Rob Kiser
SPRINGFIELD — Versailles sophomore guard Danielle Kunk had one thought after the Versailles girls basketball team trailed Williamsburg 16-11 after one quarter Wednesday in a Division III regional semifinal at Springfield High School.
“We can’t lose this game,” Kunk said. “We have got to make it to state.”
While the 26-1 Tigers still need one more win for that, Wednesday’s game wasn’t in doubt for much longer.
Versailles followed the first quarter with a 52-6 run into the middle of the fourth quarter and went on to win 70-27, with a running clock for the entire fourth quarter.
Wiliamsburg closes its season at 24-2, while Versailles will play 25-1 Waynesville for the regional title at 1:30 p.m. Saturday. The Spartans knocked off unbeaten Summit Country Day in the first game Wednesday 40-35.
“It was crazy,” Kunk said. “Once we got started, we just never stopped.”
Versailles coach Jacki Stonebraker had similar words when told about the run.
“I am not crunching all those numbers on the bench,” she said. “But, that sounds pretty amazing.”
And Kunk and sophomore guard Caitlin McEldowney were almost unstoppable from behind the 3-point line as Versailles surged to a 33-21 halftime lead and 60-22 after three quarters.
Kunk mad five of six shots from behind the arc.
“It was crazy,” Kunk said. “I have never scored that many points in a game. The first one went in and it just gave me confidence. They kept going in, so I kept shooting.”
McEldowney was almost as effective, scoring 11 points on three of five shooting from long range.
“That’s a really good game for both of those girls Stonebraker said. “And we need that from them.”
And the end of the first half typified the kind of game it was for Versailles.
Danielle Winner grabbed a rebound with four seconds to go in the half, fired it to Caitlin McEldowney, who found Ellen Peters near the basket and Peters got the shot off before the buzzer went off.
That momentum seemed to carry over to the second half, with Versailles outscoring Williamsburg 30-1 before Jessica Chase’s field goal with 5:25 left in the game.
“These girls just like to get out and go,” Stonebraker said. “You could see that tonight. They just like to get up and down the floor.”
The first quarter had been a different story.
Williamsburg hit four 3-pointers and Emily Brown scored 10 points as the Wildcats took a 16-11 lead on six-of-11 shooting.
“Number 24 (Emily Brown) was doing a great job of hustling and beating us to spots,” Stonebraker said. “I talked to the girls about that between quarters.”
Williamsburg would make just four field goals on 28 attempts the rest of the game — and went two for 18 in the second half. The screens they set for open 3-point shots in the first quarter disappeared.
“We started hedging on the ball screens,” Stonebraker said. “So, they had to go away from that. You know, we are a tired team right now. We had give it everything we had to the end Monday and then come back and play two days later. So, we need to take a couple days and re-energize for Saturday.”
Lindsey Winner added 11 points and seven rebounds for the Tigers, while Danielle Winner had seven points and eight rebounds.
Kami McEldowney had six points and five rebounds and Peters grabbed five rebounds, most on the offensive end to keep possessions alive.
Kami McEldowney had a spectacular reverse layup in the first half, only to be matched by cousin Hailey McEldowney in the second half, bringing the Versailles bench to its feet.
Brown led Williamsburg with 10 points, not scoring after the first quarter.
Versailles was 28 of 54 from the floor for 52 percent and six of 12 from the line for 50 percent.
Williamsburg was 10 of 39 from the floor for 26 percent and three of 10 from the line for 30 percent.
Versailles owned the boards 41-18 and had eight turnovers to Williamsburg’s 12.
It is Versailles’ fifth straight trip to the regional finals.
“That’s true, but every one of them is special,” Stonebraker said. “And this one is special for the 15 girls in the locker room. We just need to get focused for Saturday’s game.”
After a convincing performance to get there.
Camille McManus 0-1-1, Jessica Chase 2-1-6, Peyton Fisher 1-0-3, Paige Fisher 0-0-0, Emily Brown 4-0-10, Emily Chase 0-0-0, Maddy Ogden 1-0-2, Katie Ervin 2-0-4, Leslie Engel 0-0-0, Lauren Ellis 0-1-1. Totals: 10-3-27.
Kami McEldowney 3-0-6, Caitlin McEldowney 4-0-11, Ellen Peters 2-0-4, Elizabeth Ording 2-0-4, Danielle Winner 2-3-7, Lindsey Winner 5-1-11, Danielle Kunk 5-0-15, Kelsey Custenborder 1-1-3, Hailey McEldowney 1-0-2, Mallory Marshal 0-1-1, Hannah Barga 0-0-0, Liz Watren 0-0-0, Brooke Stonebraker 0-0-0, Savannah Toner 2-0-4, Caitlin Luthman 1-0-2. Totals: 28-6-70.
3-point field goals — Williamsburg: J. Chase, Fisher, Brown (2). Versailles: C. McEldowney (3), Kunk (5).
Score By Quarters
Williamsburg 16 21 22 27
Versailles 11 33 60 70
Records: Williamsburg 24-2, Versailles 26-1.