It wasn’t textbook for either team, but Versailles’ pressure and some timely fourth quarter shooting was enough to put away Marion Local.
Maria Stein – Jackie Stonebraker won’t remember Thursday’s 44-31 win over Marion Local as one that compares to her two state titles in terms of beauty. Blown leads, adjustments and ragged play tend to diminish the bouquet of even the hardest won victory.
But in the end her Versailles Tigers had enough of the right stuff at the right time Thursday to put away Marion Local behind a workman-like performance by sophomore Danielle Winner…and a couple of big second half shots by teammates Camille Watren and Kami McEldowney/
Winner’s 13 points were enough to pace Versailles to its 12th win of the season (12-5), and enough to overcome a lost opportunity to put Marion away early in the game. Leading by ten at the outset of the second quarter, the Tigers came face to face with a zone defense employed by Beth Streib’s Flyers and it gave them fits.
It also gave Marion just enough breathing room to get back in the game from behind the three point line. Three long bombs, highlighted by Jessie Kramer’s heave at the halftime horn (about 40 feet) left Stonebraker speechless, and tied, 17-17.
“We knew they had shooters and we had a hand in their face,’ said Stonebraker. “They just made the shots.”
But Marion could not sustain their comeback effort.
“I told them in the locker room that we came out flat in the first quarter, and maybe Jessie’s shot would light a fire under us…to carry some momentum into the second half,” said coach Beth Streib. “But that didn’t happen. We had a bad first quarter and a bad fourth quarter. We had six points in those two quarters combined.
“We shot the ball well from three-point range in the first half (4 of 4) and then didn’t shoot the three in the second half. Give credit to Versailles, they turned up the intensity in the fourth quarter and we didn’t step up to that challenge. We had more turnovers than shots.”
And defensive intensity was the Tigers’ ticket back into the game, an eventual lead and win. After retaking the lead in the fourth quarter, sophomore Kami McEldowney’s three from the left wing gave them separation and they built that into an eventual 13-point margin of victory.
“I thought we played a good first quarter, then they went zone on us in the second and we just didn’t figure it out,” added Stonebraker. “That’s been our staple all year. When teams switch defenses on us it takes us a while to adjust. Our ball movement came back to us in the third quarter, we made some shots from the perimeter and that was big. Camille (Waltren) hit a big three to get us back into a rhythm and Kami’s shot kind of sealed the deal for us.”
The loss dropped Marion to 9-6 for the season, in Beth Streib’s words, a performance of off, then on, then off again.
“We struggled to start, came back in the second, and then Emily Mescher (12 points) really looked to take it to them in the third quarter. But then in the fourth quarter we stepped back down again. We were off, then on, and then off again. We had more turnovers than shots. ”
As it turned out, the exact opposite did the trick for Versailles…on again, off again, and on again for the win!