Connor Stonebraker scores 2 of his game high 22 points to lead Versailles to OHSAA tournament win over Miami East. (Gaylen Blosser photo)

Versailles advances with win over Miami East

Versailles overcomes 9 point first half deficit to down the Vikings and advance to District Finals

VANDALIA – The Versailles Tigers rebounded from a 9 point halftime deficit to defeat a young Miami East Vikings team 59-54 in OHSAA DIII tournament play.

“What it really comes down to – we have six seniors that refuse to lose and that is what happened here in the second half,” said Versailles coach, Travis Swank following the win.

Versailles came into the game with a starting lineup of 4 seniors and a junior while the Vikings took the court with no seniors and two juniors, six sophomores and six freshman.

Miami East jumped out to double digit first quarter leads at 13-3 and closed out the opening quarter with a 15-5 advantage.

“I didn’t think we started off slow, we just missed a bunch of easy ones early,” Swank noted. “We weren’t going strong to the basket at all and finishing – we were hoping to get bailed out by fouls instead of finishing strong at the basket.”

Period No. 2 Versailles would prove to be one point better taking the quarter 14-13 sending the teams to the break with the Vikings holding a 28-19 advantage.

“We just have to continue to go strong to the basket and finish,” said Swank, “and things will take care of themselves.”

Versailles 6’7” junior post player, Connor Stonebraker paced the Tigers with 8 second quarter points and led Versailles with 10 points at the break.

“We needed to get just one stop at a time, work it inside and execute as best we could on the offensive end,” Swank said of his halftime talk. “We always talk about stops in a row – there in the first half we didn’t get many stops in a row and in that third quarter we got a lot of them early and frustrated them.”

The Tigers were 9 points better in the third led by Jaydon Litton’s 6 points including a triple, 4 points each from Stonebraker and Eli McEldowney and a Ben Ruhenkamp basket to take the third 16-7 sending the game to the fourth quarter tied at 35-35.

“We are pretty good in transition,” said Swank. “We just have to make sure we continue to exploit that best we can because the name of the game is getting the easiest amount of buckets as we can and we were able to do that in transition at times.”

Versailles took advantage of a Vikings technical foul with just under two minutes to play to take a 5 point lead only to have Miami East battle back to make it a 1 point 52-51 game with just under a minute to play.

The Tigers used a 7-0 scoring run to push its lead to 59-51 before Enis buried a 3-pointer at the buzzer advancing Versailles in tournament play.

Versailles was 13-21 at the fourth quarter free throw line and 19-28 for the game.

“We have to make sure in tournament time that we make those hurt,” Swank said of free throws. “We really could have expanded the game there but we hit them at the end when we needed to.”

Connor Stonebraker led Versailles and all scorers with a game high 22-points.

With the win, Versailles improves to 23-1 while Miami East closes out its season at 16-7.

The No. 1 seed Versailles Tigers advances to take on the No. 4 seed Georgetown G-Men at The University of Cincinnati Fifth Third Arena, Saturday, March 5 with a 12-noon start time.

“It will be a new experience for us – hopefully it will be a fun experience,” said Coach Swank. “I think it is going to be a neat atmosphere for us to be at.”

BOXSCORE

VERSAILLES 59, MIAMI EAST 54

VERSAILLES – C. Stonebraker 22, J. Litten 12, N. McEldowney 10, E. McEldowney 10, B. Ruhenkamp 5 – 17 19-28 2 59

MIAMI EAST – J. Roeth 19, W. Enis 17, M. Kemp 6, D. Abshire 4, C. Monnin 3, C. Apple 3, B. Haught  2 – 12 12-14 6 54

3-POINTERS

Versailles 2 (N. McEldowney 1, J. Litten 1)

Miami East 6 (W. Enis 2, J. Roeth 2, C. Monnin 1, C. Apple 1)

SCORE by QUARTERS

05-14-16-24 59 Versailles

15-13-07-19 54 Miami East

Versailles' Jaydon Litten drives to the basket for a score in the Tigers tournament win over the Miami East Vikings. (Gaylen Blosser photos)
Noah McEldowney scores for the Tigers in Versailles' OHSAA DIII tournament win over Miami East. (Gaylen Blosser photo)
Eli McEldowney drives the lane for a Versailles score in the team's win over Miami East. (Gaylen Blosser photo)
Versailles' Ben Ruhenkamp goes strong to the basket for a score in the Tigers' tournament win over the Vikings. (Gaylen Blosser photo)
Cole Hamilton battles for a Versailles rebound in the Tigers OHSAA tournament win over Miami East. (Gaylen Blosser photo)
Darke County Now Editor Gaylen Blosser

Gaylen Blosser / Publisher

Gaylen Blosser is a sports enthusiast and has covered high school sports for nearly 20 years in Southwest Ohio. Gaylen has been a media sportswriter while most recently serving as Sports Editor for the local newspaper and will now serve as editor of Darke County Now while continuing to cover athletics. Gaylen is an accomplished photographer who has captured thousands of athletes in action over the years and is the recipient of the OHSAA Friends of Athletes Award and OHSAA Respect the Game State Award. Contact Darke County Now Editor Gaylen Blosser at gblosser@darkecountynow.com or 937-459-9547.

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