The Versailles Girls Basketball Team got to play on the same floor of the famed 1986 movie classic "Hoosiers". (Dale Barger Photo)

Versailles Girls Basketball Plays at Historic Hoosier Gym

KNIGHTSTOWN – The site of the historic Hoosiers gym featured in the movie “Hoosiers” back in 1986 is where the Versailles girls’ basketball team took on Covington as the two teams traveled into Indiana for this non-conference game.

The Tigers got off to a very slow start while the Buccaneers came out firing early behind the play of senior guard Claudia Harrington and sophomore forward Carlie Besecker as the duo combined for 16 of their 18 first quarter points.

Versailles finally got on the board midway in the frame getting 4 points from Brooke Briscoe and 2 from Hannah Dirksen but trailed 18-6 at the end of the quarter.

Covington extended the lead to 24-8 only to see the Tigers make a run of their own going on a 12-0 run to close the gap to 24-20.  They did it by playing physical with stingy defense and sharing the basketball on the offensive end with all 5 players scoring in the 2nd quarter.

Dirksen led Versailles with 8 first half points while Besecker had 11 and Harrington 9 for the Buccs. 

“I feel like we’ve, we’ve been saying this a lot lately, we just take a while to get started I don’t if we don’t believe in ourselves until we score or get a few steals and then it’s like, oh, we can do this,” Versailles coach Tracy White said.  When they start playing together as one, you know, running the floor playing solid defense we are a tough team,” White added.

It was evident as the Tigers only trailed by 4 points 24-20 at the end of the break.

However, it was almost like watching a rerun in the 3rd quarter as the Buccs jumped ahead once again going on an 8-0 run.  During the run Claudia Harington connected on a short fade away jumper to collect her 1000thcareer point.  

Covington held the Tigers scoreless for just over 4 minutes in the period before Versailles got back in the flow and only trailed 39-29 at the end of the quarter.

The final frame was intense and physical with bodies flying everywhere as the Tigers scratched and clawed trying to find a way to get back into the game.

At one point two of the caretakers of the Hoosiers gym asked the question are these teams rivals?   Because they could see and feel the intensity out on the floor.

When Covington coach Brandon Studebaker scheduled the game he was looking to find an opponent to play that had a winning program, one who plays hard and fearless, one he wants his program to be as well.

Versailles battled to the very end giving Studebaker and the Buccs all they asked but in the end the Tigers couldn’t find a way to get the ball in the basket.  It wasn’t for a lack of opportunities they had plenty … but in a physical game sometimes they just don’t fall.

The Buccs hung a 54-42 loss on Versailles, but the score wasn’t indicative of how close it could have been if the Tigers could take back the first quarter start.

“We had opportunities late in the game, this game seemed closer than the final score, it was definitely a battle, and the girls were going at each other hard. You come out compete and try to win the energy and effort battle every game, we got it done for three quarters … but we have to find a way to do it for the entire game,” White stated.

“It was definitely a cool atmosphere and to see our fans here in this small gym and to hear them was a special moment for our girls and it was special opportunity for them to play here,” White concluded.

No one on the Tigers team scored in double figures but 7 players scored in the game.  Hannah Dirksen had 8, Taylor Wagner and Cassie Leach each had 7, Lexi Magoto and Brooke Briscoe each had 6 and Madaline Barga and Allison Schwartz had 4 points each.

Game Photos Here:

Hannah Dirksen goes aggressive to the glass for two points in game vs Covington at Hoosier Gym. (Dale Barger Photo)
Brooke Briscoe cans a free throw opting not to go old school in the classic gym and setting for the movie Hoosiers. (Dale Barger Photo)
Jenna Dirksen shoots a three-pointer in the Hoosier gym, something 68 years ago they couldn't do as small school Milan won a state championship over Muncie Central in 1954 (Dale Barger Photo)
Cassie Leach goes in for the lay-up for two points at Hoosier Gym in Knightstown, Indiana. (Dale Barger Photo)
Len Magoto receives instructions from Versailles coach Tracy White at Historic Hoosier Gym in game verses Covington. (Dale Barger Photo)

Dale Barger / Sports Editor

Dale Barger is a lifelong sports enthusiast and has covered high school athletics for nearly 20 years in Southwest Ohio and now becomes sports editor for Darke County now. For 18 years Dale has been a sportswriter for The Daily Advocate and has been published in online sorts magazines and conference websites. Dale is also an accomplished photographer who has captured thousands of athletes in action over the years. Dale is a member of The Ohio Prep Sportswriters Association and was a 2019 recipient of the Ohio High School Athletic Association Southwest District Media Service Award. Dale lives on a 72-acre farm outside of New Madison, Ohio and is married to Rita Ann (Fourman) Barger and together they have two sons and three grandkids. If you don’t see Dale at a sporting event you might catch him following his other passion – photographing nature and wildlife. Contact Darke County Now Editor Media Sports Editor Dale Barger at

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