the bistro off broadway
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Versailles junior Camille Watern hits for two of her seven points as Allie
Downing applies the defense for Tri-Village. The Tigers came from as any as 16
down to pull out a 53-52 thriller at The Battleground Tuesday. 
CNO Photos by Dylan Knoop
 
Versailles edges Lady Patriots in final seconds
Tigers come from nowhere to get victory
By George Starks

NEW MADISON-For 31 minutes and 55.1 seconds, the Versailles Lady Tigers chased Tri-Village at The Battleground.

Unfortunately for the Lady Patriots, it takes 32 minutes to win a game.

Versailles held only one lead the whole night but that lead came with 4.8 seconds left in the game when sophomore Kami McEldowney hit for two in the paint as the Tigers escaped with a 53-52 victory over the Patriots.

Trailing from the start and by as much as 16 once and 14 twice, the Tigers never seemed to get into the flow of the game.

“In the first quarter we got down big (21-7),” said Versailles coach Jackie Stonebreaker. “We did a nice job in the second quarter getting them out of what they were doing offensively and was able to get back into it.”

“I thought we executed extremely well in the first quarter,” said Patriots coach Brad Gray. “We knew they were going to pressure us really hard on the wings, and we wanted to draw the defense out and get back door cuts, and it led to a strong first quarter.”

That pressure came in the second quarter as Versailles left the man defense in favor of a zone.

By stretching out the Patriots offense and cutting down on some easy T-V buckets in the paint, a game that more resembled the Kentucky Derby had been slowed down in the pace, playing the game in a more traditional Versailles style.

“Give Jacki credit, they went to a zone to start the second quarter, and it really stifled us, and we struggled against the zone,” Gray said.

On offense, it was Camille Watern and Danielle Winner leading the charge with five points each in the frame for the Tigers

Despite having the gap closed to a 28-21 count at the break, the Patriots came out in the third and once again buried the Tigers, regaining that 14 point lead after three.

“We dug ourselves into another rut in the third quarter … but I felt like if we just kept fighting. We have a lot big game experience and play a lot of tough games throughout the year, so I pressed them to keep fighting. I didn’t care how tired they were, and I told them you aren’t any more tired than they are, everybody has to be in,” Stonebraker said.

Then, going into the final eight minutes, Versailles, trailing 43-29, came alive as Winner led the charge coming out of the fourth quarter gate scoring nine of her 20 points on the night.

“Danielle was doing a great job inside so let’s keep feeding her and keep her post to post,” Stonebraker said. “I didn’t think we got her the ball enough, and finally we got did and we kept getting her the ball. She’s the one who kept us in the game.”

“We did a good job on Winner in the first half, surrounding her and limiting her touches,” Gray said. “In the second half, especially in the fourth quarter, we let her get too many easy catches deep in the paint.”

After the Patriots opened the fourth up and taking when Rachel Miller knocked down a 12 foot jumper with junior Allie Downing backing that up with a layup and taking a 47-31 advantage.

That would be the beginning of the end for the Tri-Village offense.

It all boiled down to one thing…(DEFENSE) as the Tigers picked up the pressure.

“It all started with Kami McEldowney, who went around and was trapping everyone … she was upset that I was upset, and it all starts with our guards and the pressure they apply and being able to rotate and trap,” Stonebraker said.

The biggest shot of the night, after the deuce by McEldowney, may have been a trey by junior Kami Ording with 51.2 second remaing.

That bomb would cut the Patriots lead to three at 52-49.

That would be the shot that would cap off the final the final four point run as Watern would score off a Patriots turnover with 33.6 seconds only to see McEldowney give Versailles its only lead of the night in the final seconds.

 “After she struggled all night, it was good to see that she was able to hit the shot,” Stonebraker said about the game winner by McEldowney.

“It’s tough,” admitted Gray in taking the loss. “I don’t know how else to explain it. You have to find a way to win the game. You have a 16-point lead in the fourth quarter, and you lose a game when you’re up by that much. That’s on me. We’re a good basketball team. Anybody who was here and watched the game knew we were a good team … we outplayed them tonight. Yea, they got the ‘W,’ I’ll give them credit for that … but we had a meltdown at the end.”

Downing led all in scoring with 22 while Danika Mann finished with 17 and 10 rebounds.

“I thought Allie had a great game. I really wish she would have wanted the ball at the end the game. I’m not sure why she was passing the ball. We knew they were coming to get us. She’s our leader and in big moments we want the ball in her hands and get to the free throw line. I’m sure she’s hurting because I got on her about that after the game,” Gray said. “Danika had an excellent game, and by the same token I know she’s beating herself up because she missed the free throw but to me she played a whale of second half. She shouldn’t have even had to shoot that free throw if we would have taken care of business. Bottom line it’s a 32-minute game, not just 30.”

Recently ranked as the number one D-IV team in the state, the Patriots fell to 18-2 on the season and will play Franklin Monroe next in conference play.

Versailles improved to 15-6 overall and will close out its regular season at home against Delphos St. John’s on Thursday for senior night.

See more photos at Facebook Empowering Darke County Youth


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Downing led all scorers for the Patriots with 22.
 
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Danika Mann finds the game a little on the physical side for the Patriots.
Mann netted 17 points with 10 boards.
 

 
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