Greg Billing
Greg Billing

Greg Billing began covering high school, college and professional sports in the Miami Valley in 1988 when he was a junior at Miami East High School. The Wright State University graduate has worked at the Troy Daily News (1996-1997), Springfield News-Sun (1997-2001) and the Dayton Daily News (2001-2016). He was inducted into the Dayton Auto Racing Fan Club's (DARF) Hall of Fame in 2015 for his auto racing coverage and has also earned numerous Associated Press awards for stories, headline writing and special sports sections. Greg lives in West Milton with his wife and two daughters. When not covering events, he and his wife are cheering for the girls as they play a variety of sports for the Milton-Union Bulldogs.

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Deja Vu … Versailles gave Summit Country Day that old  familiar feeling in Saturday’s D-III regional title game.

Springfield – The Versailles Tigers’ opponent in the Division III girls basketball regional championship game Saturday afternoon entered 27-0. Just like in 2015.

The Versailles Tigers’ opponent boasted the D-III Southwest District player of the year. Just like in 2015.

And on Saturday, the Versailles Tigers’ opponent was Miami Valley Conference champion Cincinnati Summit Country Day. Just like in 2015.

plattysembed_275x275Deja vu?

More like deja Versailles. The Tigers have been there, done that.

And Saturday they did it again. Versailles used its superior height advantage to topple the state’s top-ranked team with a resounding 50-33 victory at Springfield High School. In 2015, the Tigers snapped the Silver Knights’ 27-game winning streak with a 41-24 rout.

The victory sends Versailles to the Division III state semifinals for the third time in four seasons. Versailles (25-3) plays Sardinia Eastern (26-1) 3 p.m. Friday in the second D-III semifinal at the Jerome Schottenstein Center at Ohio State University.

Claire Schmitmeyer

Claire Schmitmeyer going in for a lay-up.

“We’re there. Anything can happen now,” Versailles coach Jacki Stonebraker said. “This is the time we need to be playing our best basketball and I feel like we are.”

If Stonebraker could bottle the Tigers’ first half and save it for Columbus she would. Versailles attacked inside early. Junior guard Kami McEldowney scored down the lane for the 2-0 lead 20 seconds into the game. Junior forward Danielle Winner struck twice on the low post for the 6-0 advantage. And sophomore forward Elizabeth Ording followed for the 8-0 lead with 3:51 left in the first quarter.

“We just said we wanted to knock them in the teeth from the very beginning. Show them who we were,” the appropriately-named Stonebraker said. “We just wanted to play with energy and play with enthusiasm. … If things don’t fall, they don’t fall. But we’re not going to get out-hustled.”

Another basket by Ording off a rebound, a couple McEldowney 3-pointers, a Winner basket and free throw and a nifty layup by senior guard Clair Schmitmeyer – sidestepping the defender to avoid a charge – pushed the Tigers’ advantage to 21-7 after one quarter.

MAC_logo2insetIt was game on for Versailles. And game over for Summit Country Day.

Versailles went down low often to the 6-foot-2 Winner. Add in 5-11 Ording and 6-1 freshman Lindsey Winner and the Tigers towered over the Silver Knights, whose tallest player was 5-8 guard Alea Harris.

“I don’t think they came in worrying about it’s Versailles and we can’t beat them,” SCD coach Beth Simmons said. “I think for us, we were at a slight disadvantage because of our size and it rattled us. The more it rattled us the worse we got as far as making our little shots and making our free throws.”

Cami makes her move towards the baskets.

Kami McEldowney makes her move towards the hoop.

The Silver Knights had half a dozen layups or point-black shots roll around and off the unforgiving rims at Springfield High School.

“That’s the most I’ve ever seen,” Simmons said.

The height advantage loomed large in keeping the smaller Silver Knights off the glass. Versailles outrebounded SCD 38-14.

“Sometimes our best offense is a shot at the basket so we can rebound it,” Stonebraker said. “We knew we had the bigs inside to go at them. That was our game plan – go at them and go at them.”

Versailles led 31-12 at the half, capped by a smooth 3-pointer by McEldowney. The junior stopped, shook off her defender near the top of the key and popped in her third 3-pointer of the half with 58 seconds left.

The Tigers – perhaps reminded of the Versailles boys basketball team seeing a 24-point halftime lead sliced in a game Thursday – never let up. They extended the deficit to a game-high 22 points (38-16) midway through the third quarter.

“Come back out firing,” McEldowney said of the locker room talk at halftime. “Don’t let them back in and stay on top.”

McEldowney led Versailles with a game-high 17 points and Winner was right behind at 16. Ording added eight.

kremer_embed_600x100

“(McEldowney) hit some threes today that were quick and off the drive. She plays with no worries,” Stonebraker said. “That’s what I like about her.”

As for Summit Country Day, Southwest District player of the year Ravin Alexander scored a team-high 11 points but had just two in the second half.

The Silver Knights’ schedule included 10 teams with winning records and three of them reached 20 or more wins, so SCD faced competition. But Simmons gave a nod to the Tigers’ schedule for preparing them for Saturday’s game. That and experience. Versailles is making its eighth state tournament appearance. Summit Country Day was playing in its second-ever regional final.

Danielle Winner

Danielle Winner gave her team 16 points in the win.

“We played a pretty good schedule. I think Versailles plays a better schedule, though,” Simmons said. “I think a lot of it comes down to experience. It’s disappointing for me because it’s pretty much a mirror of what happened two years ago. We were hoping to come out and have a better showing.”

Summit Country Day entered averaging 60 points per game. Saturday’s 33 points was a season low for SCD, which was previously held to 35 in a win against Turpin. Besides those two games, Summit Country Day hadn’t scored less than 51 in a game.

“We knew we couldn’t back down,” Winner said. “Records don’t mean anything when it comes to the tournament. It’s just who wants it more.”

Two more wins separate Versailles from a second state championship in three seasons (2015). The Tigers also reached the state championship game in 2014.

“We have a great conference that gets us ready for this,” McEldowney said. “We don’t take it for granted, but yes it feels like home. It’s nice to be back. … Unbelievable. It’s nice to give back to our community.”
Deja Vu … Versailles gives Summit Country Day a familiar feeling in D-III regional title game

The Versailles Tigers’ opponent in the Division III girls basketball regional championship game Saturday afternoon entered 27-0. Just like in 2015.

Knapke is proud to sponsor coverage of the Dayton Flyers on Press Pros Magazine.com.

The Versailles Tigers’ opponent boasted the D-III Southwest District player of the year. Just like in 2015.

And on Saturday, the Versailles Tigers’ opponent was Miami Valley Conference champion Cincinnati Summit Country Day. Just like in 2015.

Deja vu?

More like deja Versailles. The Tigers have been there, done that.

And Saturday they did it again. Versailles used its superior height advantage to topple the state’s top-ranked team with a resounding 50-33 victory at Springfield High School. In 2015, the Tigers snapped the Silver Knights’ 27-game winning streak with a 41-24 rout.

Ording

Ellen Peters strives to move the ball down the court.

The victory sends Versailles to the Division III state semifinals for the third time in four seasons. Versailles (25-3) plays Sardinia Eastern (26-1) 3 p.m. Friday in the second D-III semifinal at the Jerome Schottenstein Center at Ohio State University.

“We’re there. Anything can happen now,” Versailles coach Jacki Stonebraker said. “This is the time we need to be playing our best basketball and I feel like we are.”

If Stonebraker could bottle the Tigers’ first half and save it for Columbus she would. Versailles attacked inside early. Junior guard Kami McEldowney scored down the lane for the 2-0 lead 20 seconds into the game. Junior forward Danielle Winner struck twice on the low post for the 6-0 advantage. And sophomore forward Elizabeth Ording followed for the 8-0 lead with 3:51 left in the first quarter.

“We just said we wanted to knock them in the teeth from the very beginning. Show them who we were,” the appropriately-named Stonebraker said. “We just wanted to play with energy and play with enthusiasm. … If things don’t fall, they don’t fall. But we’re not going to get out-hustled.”

Another basket by Ording off a rebound, a couple McEldowney 3-pointers, a Winner basket and free throw and a nifty layup by senior guard Clair Schmitmeyer – sidestepping the defender to avoid a charge – pushed the Tigers’ advantage to 21-7 after one quarter.

It was game on for Versailles. And game over for Summit Country Day.

Versailles went down low often to the 6-foot-2 Winner. Add in 5-11 Ording and 6-1 freshman Lindsey Winner and the Tigers towered over the Silver Knights, whose tallest player was 5-8 guard Alea Harris.

“I don’t think they came in worrying about it’s Versailles and we can’t beat them,” SCD coach Beth Simmons said. “I think for us, we were at a slight disadvantage because of our size and it rattled us. The more it rattled us the worse we got as far as making our little shots and making our free throws.”

keyhole_284x150The Silver Knights had half a dozen layups or point-black shots roll around and off the unforgiving rims at Springfield High School.

“That’s the most I’ve ever seen,” Simmons said.

The height advantage loomed large in keeping the smaller Silver Knights off the glass. Versailles outrebounded SCD 38-14.

“Sometimes our best offense is a shot at the basket so we can rebound it,” Stonebraker said. “We knew we had the bigs inside to go at them. That was our game plan – go at them and go at them.”

Versailles led 31-12 at the half, capped by a smooth 3-pointer by McEldowney. The junior stopped, shook off her defender near the top of the key and popped in her third 3-pointer of the half with 58 seconds left.

Jacki's expression of when the horn goes off...  is priceless!

Jacki’s expression when the horn sounded … Priceless!

The Tigers – perhaps reminded of the Versailles boys basketball team seeing a 24-point halftime lead sliced in a game Thursday – never let up. They extended the deficit to a game-high 22 points (38-16) midway through the third quarter.

“Come back out firing,” McEldowney said of the locker room talk at halftime. “Don’t let them back in and stay on top.”

McEldowney led Versailles with a game-high 17 points and Winner was right behind at 16. Ording added eight.

“(McEldowney) hit some threes today that were quick and off the drive. She plays with no worries,” Stonebraker said. “That’s what I like about her.”

As for Summit Country Day, Southwest District player of the year Ravin Alexander scored a team-high 11 points but had just two in the second half.

The Silver Knights’ schedule included 10 teams with winning records and three of them reached 20 or more wins, so SCD faced competition. But Simmons gave a nod to the Tigers’ schedule for preparing them for Saturday’s game. That and experience. Versailles is making its eighth state tournament appearance. Summit Country Day was playing in its second-ever regional final.

Phelan_Donegal_embed_2015_600x100

“We played a pretty good schedule. I think Versailles plays a better schedule, though,” Simmons said. “I think a lot of it comes down to experience. It’s disappointing for me because it’s pretty much a mirror of what happened two years ago. We were hoping to come out and have a better showing.”

Summit Country Day entered averaging 60 points per game. Saturday’s 33 points was a season low for SCD, which was previously held to 35 in a win against Turpin. Besides those two games, Summit Country Day hadn’t scored less than 51 in a game.

“We knew we couldn’t back down,” Winner said. “Records don’t mean anything when it comes to the tournament. It’s just who wants it more.”

Two more wins separate Versailles from a second state championship in three seasons (2015). The Tigers also reached the state championship game in 2014.

“We have a great conference that gets us ready for this,” McEldowney said. “We don’t take it for granted, but yes it feels like home. It’s nice to be back. … Unbelievable. It’s nice to give back to our community.”

Versailles Tigers D-III regional champs.

Versailles Tigers D-III regional champs.

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