VERSAILLES – The Versailles Tigers hosted National Trail and held off the pesky Blazers late game surge to earn a 63-60 overtime win.
“We have a lot more to improve on,” said Versailles coach Travis Swank. “We’re an unfinished product right now. We have had a lot of guys step up and do a lot of nice things but we’re not there where we need to be right now. I’m happy for our guys to get a ‘W’ but I still want to go back to work tomorrow and clean up some things.”
The teams came into the night with identical unblemished 8-0 season marks with Versailles representing the MAC and National Trail the CCC.
“We just want to go out there and earn our respect,” Swank stated. “The only way they can do that is play really well and beat quality teams like National Trail here tonight. Hopefully we can continue on with what we are doing, working hard and getting better every day because that is how you earn respect in the end.”
Versailles used eight Michael Stammen first quarter points including 4-4 at the line to take a 15-8 lead after one period of play.
The Tigers pushed their lead to 22-10 at 5:46 in the second and closed out first half play with a 31-19 advantage with Stammen accounting for 16 first half points.
“He played really well the first half,” Swank said of Stammen. “The second half we got a little stagnant and we forced a lot of shots. We could have finished a little better at times underneath, just didn’t – maybe that was Trails length and athleticism so credit to them.”
Period No. 3 had Versailles extending its lead to 14-points with a 37-23 score at 4:18 before the visitors closed out third quarter play on a 14-5 run cutting the Tigers’ lead to 42-37 heading to the final quarter.
“We had a little laps there,” said Swank. “We have had these in games where we control and then we allow teams like Russia and now National Trail to make a run at us, but we persevered here again tonight. We can’t let that keep on happening because it’s eventually going to come back and bite us.”
National Trail took the final period 14-9 with the lead changing hands several times with Versailles coming back from a 2-point 51-49 deficit to send the game to an overtime period.
Trail would take its first lead in the fourth period at 44-43 with 6:40 showing before Versailles grabbed the lead back at 46-44 with 5:47 on the board.
The teams would see the score tied at 47-47 and 49-49 only to have National Trail go back on top 51-49 at 1:18. Versailles knotted the score at 51-51 to close out regulation play sending the game to an overtime period.
“The second half we got a little stagnant and we forced a lot of shots,” Coach Swank noted. “We could have finished a little better at times underneath – just didn’t. Maybe that was Trails length and athleticism so credit to them. They never gave up and made a really nice ballgame. That was a fun atmosphere to be in, the crowd was in it. It was a good game for both teams.”
Versailles took advantage of a Conner VanSkyock old fashioned 3-point play to give the Tigers a 54-51 overtime lead, a lead they would keep but not without the Blazers putting up a fight with the score standing at 54-53, 57-53, 57-55, 58-55, 60-55, 60-57, 61-57 and 63-57 with 0:06.9 showing. Trail’s Harrison hit a 3-point buzzer beater to make it a 3-point win for Versailles.
“In overtime we got a little mojo going, moved the ball a lot better and he got wide open looks,” Swank said of VanSkyock. “He is a knock down shooter. We want him to hit those for us. He got a lot of good looks off our motion and our ball movement. Those are the ones we want to take.”
VanSkyock paced the Tigers overtime, scoring eight of the team’s 12-points including a triple, a 2-point basket and 3-3 at the charity stripe.
Trail’s Cameron Harrison led all scorers with a game high 31-points including seven 3-pointers. The 6’0” junior scored his 1,000th career point for the Blazers in the game.
“Good players make plays in the end and he’s a really good player,” Swanks said of Trail’s Harrison. “There is a reason why he’s a junior and has eclipsed 1,000 points in his career. The kid can flat out play basketball and he has a lot of potential going forward from here on out.”
VERSAILLES 63, NATIONAL TRAIL 60
VERSAILLES – M. Stammen 18, C. VanSkyock 15, C. Naftzger 14, R. Martin 7, B. Ruhenkamp 5, E. McEldowney 2, H, Trump 2 – TOTALS 15 21-30 4 63
NATIONAL TRAIL – C. Harrison 31, Z. Woodall 15, T. Weathington 9, M. Leal 4, C. Everman 1 –Totals 11 14-19 8 60
Versailles 4 (C. VanSkyock 2, M. Stammen 1, C. Naftzger 1)
National Trail 8 (C. Harrison 7, Z. Woodall 1)
SCORE by QUARTERS:
15-16-11-09-12 63 Versailles
08-11-18-14-09 60 National Trail
PHOTO CAPTION: National Trail’s Cameron Harrison looks on as Versailles’ Michael Stammen drives to the basket in the Tigers Monday night OT win over the Blazers. (Gaylen Blosser photo)