SPRINGFIELD – The Versailles Lady Tigers strong start in the D-III Regional Championship game was not enough to continue their tournament run as the Marion Pleasant Lady Spartans battled back to win 48-35.
“I’ll take this team… I’ll take these 14 players we had on this tournament team over any other team,” said Versailles Coach Jacki Stonebraker. “They lost together… the won together and they were truly a team this year.”
“I thought we were playing some of our best basketball the past couple of weeks,” added Stonebraker. “We just couldn’t put it together today.”
Lauren Monnin gave the Lady Tigers a 2-0 first quarter lead at 7:02 followed by a Spartans three-pointer at 6:42 for a 3-2 advantage.
A Kami McEldowney 8-foot jumper and a Monnin bucket had Versailles leading 6-3 with 5:26 on the clock.
Pleasant closed to 6-5 with a basket at 4:43 only to have the Lady Tigers score eight unanswered points to lead 14-5 at 1:23 in the first.
“We were playing well,” said Stonebraker. “We were playing as a team. They didn’t know what hit them. We kinda hit them in the mouth at the beginning of the game and then they came back and we could never recover.”
Marion Pleasant would knock down two baskets in the final minute of first quarter play to trail 14-9 with the teams headed to second quarter play.
Trailing 15-14 Versailles would not find the basket until 2:28 with C. Schmitmeyer hitting the backend of two free throws knotting the score at 15-15.
A 6-foot Monnin jumper at 1:43 had the Lady Tigers back on top 17-15 followed by 1-of-2 at the line by Marion making a 17-16 score.
Pleasant took an 18-17 lead at 0:26 before the Spartans would send McEldowney to the line to go 2-for-2 with 0:04 sending the teams to the break with Versailles clinging to a 19-18 lead.
The Lady Spartans used a three-pointer to open third quarter scoring taking a 21-19 lead, a lead that would prove to hold up to the final buzzer of the game.
Trailing 32-23 Versailles would get a Monnin basket at 1:33 and a Danielle Winner basket in the paint with 0:33 showing wending the teams to the final period of play with Pleasant leading 32-27.
“We just didn’t have it today,” Stonebraker said. “We didn’t have all our firepower. We just couldn’t get anything rolling offensively.”
“I just didn’t feel like we were on the same page,” continued Stonebraker. “Our whole court was off balance.”
Marion would use the first 3:48 of the fourth quarter to score nine unanswered points to stretch their lead to 41-27.
“We got killed on the boards offensively and defensively,” Stonebraker stated. “We couldn’t make a shot and that hurt. They were making a lot of shots against us. It was their night… it was their day. Kudos to them.”
Versailles would use the final 3:56 of the game to outscore the Spartans 8-7 accounting for a 48-35 game-ending score.
“We had some bad luck this week with some players playing sick,” Stonebraker said. “You’re talking really sick with strep and other sicknesses that you can’t recover very quickly from.”
“I am so proud of them,” Stonebrakers said of her team and the success the young team had in 2016. “We want to be back. We will be back. We’re going to keep coaching these girls and continue to get better.”
TIGERS 35, SPARTAINS 48
VERSAILLES – L. Monnin 6 2-2 14, D. Winner 3 1-2 7, K. McEldowney 2 2-2 6, K. Langston 0 2-2 5, C. Schmitmeyer 1 1-2 3, THREE POINTERS 1 (K. Langston 1) – TOTALS 12 8-10 1 35
MARION PLEASANT – H. Peltier 1 2-2 16, K. Kimmel 3 3-4 15, S. Blevins 4 3-4 11, L. Maniaci 1 0-0 2, K. Linder 1 0-0 2, J. Mauk 1 0-0 2, THREE POINTERS 6 (H. Peltier 4, K. Kimmel 2) – TOTALS 11 8-10 6 48
SCORE by QUARTERS:
14-05-08-08 35 Versailles
09-09-14-16 48 Marion Pleasant