By Rob Kiser
Piqua Daily Call
VERSAILLES — Versailles girls basketball team tried something different for a change.
The defending D-III state runnerups didn’t go overtime — like the Tigers had in three of their first seven wins — but, coach Jacki Stonebraker liked a lot better what she saw over the final two quarters in a 63-41 victory as Versailles improved to 8-0.
“It was nice not to go overtime, but I am not sure we ‘played’ four quarters,” Stonebraker said with a laugh. “I think we played about two and half. We came out the second half and played like we can.”
And early in the third quarter, it looked like it had the makings for another overtime game.
Versailles led 14-13 after one quarter, but trailed 24-23 at halftime.
And after a three by the Wildkittens Chandler Clark, Versailles found itself trailing 31-30 midway through the third quarter.
“They just kept clawing back at us,” Stonebraker said. “We couldn’t get away from them.”
But, just as quickly, Danielle Kunk and Caitlin McEldowney each hit a three to start a 19-1 Versailles run to open a 49-32 lead early in the fourth quarter and erase all doubt.
“I think that (the 3-point shots) kind of lit a fire under us,” Stonebraker said.
After a free throw by Bath’s Abbie Dackin, Brooke Stonebraker had a putback for the Tigers and Caitlyn Luthman was fouled off a steal by McEldowney and hit one free throw to make it 39-32 going to the fourth quarter.
“We had some big steals in there,” Stonebraker said. “We started playing basketball the way we know we can.”
And there was not let up in the final eight minutes.
The quarter started with Liz Watren hitting one of two free throws. Liz Ording got the offensive rebound on the miss and kicked it out to Hannah Barga for a foul-line jumper to make it 42-32 and a three-point possession.
“We did a good job on the offensive boards tonight,” Stonebraker said. “It is just things like that (which make a difference).”
Ording followed with a 3-point play and Watren scored off a steal to make it 47-32 and Versailles cruised to the win from there.
And while the Lady Tigers have had some close calls, it has all the looks of another Tiger team looking to play its best basketball in March.
“There is not a lot of scouting going on in these early season games,” Stonebraker said. “Yes, we want to win the games. But, at the same time we are working on things we want to do later on in the season.”
And Stonebraker knew the traditionally strong Lima Bath program would be a challenge, despite six of its nine players being sophomores.
“They are a young team,” Stonebraker said. “But, they have a promising future. I think there are a lot of good things ahead for them.”
Ording led a balanced Versailles attack with 12 points.
McEldowney, Lindsey Winner and Savannah Toner all scored eight.
Kunk netted seven and Stonebraker added six.
Abby Dackin led Lima Bath with 10 points, while Ja’Dasia Hardison and Esther Bolon both scored eight points.
Versailles also took advantage of its opportunities at the line.
The Lady Tigers made eight of 10 for 80 percent, while the Wildkittens made just nine of 20 for 45 percent.
The Lady Tigers will face another challenge Saturday when it travels to Fort Loramie — looking to put together “four” quarters.
Lima Bath (41)
Abby Dackin 4-2-10, Ja’Dasia Hardison 3-0-8, Esther Bolon 2-3-8, Chandler Clark 2-1-5, Ruby Bolon 2-1-5, Tori Dackin 1-2-5, Kaleigh Ketcham 0-0-0, Jordain Craig 0-0-0, Ava Craddock 0-0-0. Totals: 14-9-41.
Caitlin McEldowney 3-0-8, Danielle Kunk 3-0-7, Liz Ording 5-2-12, Lindsey Winner 4-0-8, Kelsey Custenborder 1-2-4, Liz Watren 2-1-5, Savannah Toner 3-2-8, Caitlyn Luthman 1-1-3, Brooke Stonebraker 3-0-6, Hannah Barga 1-0-2. Totals: 26-8-63.
3-point field goals — Lima Bath: Hardison (2), E. Bolon, T. Dackin. Versailles: McEldowney (2), Kunk.
Score By Quarters
Lima Bath 13 24 32 41
Versailles 14 23 39 63
Records: Versailles 8-0.
Reserve score: Versailles 51, Lima Bath 20.