Spearheaded by a 15-2 run opening the game, Versailles never trailed in the contest and was able to beat a back a number of Cavalier charges. Tiger senior Bryant Ahrens paced all scorers with 12 points, while Lehman’s Spencer Peltier dropped in 9 leading the Cavaliers.
“We played pretty well this summer, but these guys just don’t have enough self-confidence,” Versailles coach Scott McEldowney said. “I knew if we had a positive start we could win this game.”
The Tigers had more than a positive start – they had a great start. Ian Nisonger provided the game’s first points. He then stole the inbounds pass and dropped in two more points, giving Versailles a 4-0 lead.
Things only got worse for Lehman in the period. Ahrens made it 6-0 and Jon Richard pushed it to 9-0 with a traditional three point play. Lehman finally got on the board with a field goal from Zac Schmitz, but Versailles went back on a 6-2 run and had a 17-4 lead with 2:24 left in the period.
If there was a saving gracing it was Peltier who drained a three pointer as the period wore down, getting the deficit to 19-7.
But the damage was done and the Cavs were in a big time hole and would spend the rest of the game trying to climb out of it. They never made it out.
In the second stanza things got interesting. A big key was Versailles foul trouble as both Ahrens and Richard went to the bench with two fouls each.
“We had a lot of momentum going and when Ahrens and Jon Richard got in foul
trouble the game went into a stalemate,” said McEldowney.
The Cavs opened the period with a 4-0 run cutting the deficit to 19-11. But, Versailles was able to keep Lehman at arm’s length, getting just enough offense to hold the lead.
“The bench did a job of keeping the game where it was,” noted McEldowney.
Versailles got a couple of big buckets from Ahrens who was able to stabilize his team after returning to the floor. The last made it a 25-18 at the half. Up seven points, Versailles had managed to hold off the hard charging Cavs and headed to the half time break.
Amazingly the third period was a near rerun of the first stanza. Like the first period Versailles opened the third with a big run. Richard started things with a field goal making it 27-18. Ahrens and then Richard again scored pushing the advantage to 31-18 and Brady Selhorst hit a three pointer giving the Tigers a 34-18 lead.
That was the first part of the period. Like the first stanza, the second half of the third period was mostly Lehman. Brian Adams started it by hitting a three pointer. Schmitz connected on a field goal, making it 34-23 and stabilizing the Cavs. They ended the period trailing 36-24, but the push was enough to give Lehman a chance.
The Cavaliers really started charging hard in the final period. They pulled to within ten at 36-26, but Versailles then went on a 4-0 spurt capped by a Nisonger field goal with over six minutes to play. That was the last Tiger field goal in the game.
Using a pressuring man-to-man defense the Cavs shut down the Tigers offense. The problem was they to hit a brink wall offensively. After a 10-0 run made it 40-36 with 3:52 remaining, both offenses went into neutral.
Lehman managed a free throw with thirty seconds remaining, closing to within three at 40-37. However, Clayton Nieport dropped in two charity tosses giving Versailles a 42-37 lead with 20 ticks remaining. That all but sealed the deal as the Tigers improved to 2-3 on the year with a 43-37 victory, while Lehman drops to 3-1 on the season.