Versailles Tigers earn solid win over National Trail to advance in OHSAA DIII tournament play.
VANDALIA – The Versailles Tigers entered the OHSAA DIII tournament as the state’s No. 3 ranked team and wasted little time advancing on the tournament trail with a 59-28 win over the National Trail Blazers.
“We had a lot of days off so we wanted to come out strong and execute the best we could,” Versailles coach, Travis Swank said of 10 days since his Tigers last game.”
The No. 1 seed Tigers jumped out to a 9-0 first quarter advantage over the No. 21 seed Blazers before settling on a 16-6 advantage after one quarter of play.
The 2021-2022 Midwest Athletic Conference Player of the Year, 6’7” junior forward Connor Stonebraker led the Tigers with 9 first quarter points, Jaydon Litten 3 points and Eli McEldowney and Ben Ruhenkamp 2 points.
Second quarter play went to Versailles 20-6 with Stonebraker adding 10 points to the board, Cole Hamilton 4 points and AJ Griesdorn, Ruhenkamp and Litten each with 2 sending the game to the break with the Tigers holding a comfortable 36-12 lead.
Versailles substitutions were obvious in second half play with the Tigers scoring 15 third quarter points while the Blazers were connecting with 12 points for a 51-24 Versailles lead with one period to play.
“We wanted to be as crisp and as sharp as we could coming out of halftime – that really didn’t happen,” Swank stated. “We use the softball analogy keep on getting those singles, don’t always have to go for the home run.”
“You get a bunch of singles in a row, sometimes that’s just as demoralizing as always trying to hit for homeruns – but we didn’t hit enough singles in that third quarter,” added Swank.
The Tigers got balanced third quarter scoring from Stonebraker and Ruhenkamp with 4 points each, Litton a 3-pointer and Noah and Eli McEldowney both with a basket.
The final quarter of the night had Versailles using an 8-4 advantage to close out the night with a 31 point win. Griesdorn accounted for 4 fourth quarter Tigers’ points and Ruhenkamp and Ethan Dickey each added 2.
Stonebraker led Versailles and all scorers with a game high 23 points; 19 coming in the first half.
“He seals up really well the inside,” Coach Swank said of Stonebraker. “They really didn’t have an answer for him inside so we tried to exploit the mismatch the best we could. “Our guys found him so a lot of credit to the guys that are giving him the ball – without those guys looking for him he doesn’t get as many touches as he does and scores.”
Versailles advances to play the No. 8 seed Miami East Vikings, 61-42 winners over Bethel – Saturday, February 26 at Vandalia-Butler High School with a 4 p.m. start time.
“Miami East is a really good team,” noted Swank. “They have two really solid players, they have some other guys around them that do their role really well. We have to do the best that we can to take them away. They are going to score, those guys are going to get their shots up, it’s just how many can we take away – easy ones for them and make them take tough ones.”
VERSAILLES 59, NATIONAL TRAIL 28
VERSAILLES – C. Stonebraker 23, B. Ruhenkamp 10, J. Litten 8, AJ Griesdorn 6, E. McEldowney 4, C. Hamilton 4, N. McEldowney 2, E. Dickey 2 – TOTALS 25 6-9 1
NATIONAL TRAIL – W. House 8, E. Murphy 6, A. Carrell 6, L. Michael 5, H. White 2, L. Koehl 1 – TOTALS 8 3-6 3 28
Versailles 1 (J. Litten 1)
National Trail 3 (W. House 2, E. Murphy 1)
SCORE by QUARTERS
16-20-15-08 59 Versailles
06-06-12-04 28 National Trail