Versailles gains inside track to MAC girls basketball title

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Versailles 48, Delphos St. John’s 41
The Versailles Lady Tigers now have the inside track for the MAC girls basketball title. The Tigers downed Delphos St. John’s 48-41 at Versailles on Thursday improving to 12-0 overall and 5-0 in conference. DSJ falls to 11-2 and 3-1 in the MAC. Both teams made the Division III state semifinals last season. The game was really a tale of two Tigers.


VERSAILLES – The Versailles Lady Tigers now have the inside track for the MAC girls basketball title. The Tigers downed Delphos St. John’s 48-41 at Versailles on Thursday improving to 12-0 overall and 5-0 in conference. DSJ falls to 11-2 and 3-1 in the MAC. Both teams made the Division III state semifinals last season.

The game was really a tale of two Tigers. After taking a 6-0 lead, Versailles found itself stuck in neutral. Using an aggressive man-to-man defense, Delphos put the Tigers on their heels and took command of the game.

Behind Victoria Recker , who dropped in two big first half 3-pointers and finished with 12 points, the Jays built a 24-13 lead. But after that point the game was all Versailles. Over a span of about two quarters, the Tigers outscored Delphos 26-8. That run flipped an 11-point deficit into a 37-32 advantage.

“We gave up way too many easy looks in the early going,” Versailles Jacki Stonebraker said. “Inexperience and the feeling of not being behind played a role in our start.”

The turn in momentum was spearheaded by Emily Bohman and Justine Raterman. Bohman dropped in 12 second half points, finishing with 14 and Raterman tallied a game high 24 points. The 6-foot-2 forward was an unstoppable force in the paint and the difference in the game.

“Justine was our offense in the first half and carried us during that time,” said Stonebraker.

The other factor was defense. After looking tentative for most of the first half, Versailles attacked Delphos and held them to just four points in the third period.

“The difference between the first half and second half was they challenged us in the second half,” St. John’s coach Dan Grothouse said. “They got a hand our face on every shot and hats off to them.”

For the first quarter and half it was Grothouse’s team that was the aggressor, taking Versailles out of their game. On the offensive end, the Jays were able to find a number of open shots and convert. When the first period ended it was 14-10 DSJ.

The Jays’ momentum carried over to the second period as the advantage just kept growing. After going up 16-12, Recker drained a 3 making it 19-12. On the next possession Zefiryn Bryan converted a traditional 3-point play and it was 22-12 Jays.

But things started to slowly shift on Delphos. Raterman went on a personal 4-0 run closing the deficit to seven. The Jays managed to push the lead back to nine at 26-17 at the end of the half. However, the momentum shift was on and in the second half the Tigers took over.

“Raterman had 13 of their 17 points in the first half but I thought we did a pretty good job on her. Overall I thought we did a good job defensively, but they did a great job in executing on offense,” Grothouse said.

After getting direct orders for Stonebraker to rebound and play defense, the Tigers came out in the second half and did both.

Bohman stated the scoring with a bucket and foul. She missed the free throw, but Raterman scooped up the rebound and put it back in, making it a 26-21 game. That one play set the stage for the entire stanza.

“Bohman carried us on her shoulders,” Stonebraker said. “It was tough for her to get in a groove in the first half because I had her playing their best offensive player. I told her she had to play offense and defense.

The Jays made it a 28-21 game with 5:26, but from that point on they were outscored 11-2 and Versailles took a 32-30 lead after three periods of play.

With Raterman dominating the paint, Bohman driving the lane and a defense that gave up nothing, the Jays were nearly helpless to stymie the tide. The Tigers opened the final stanza with a 5-0 run, making it 37-30.

Eventually Delphos settled down a bit, but the Tigers’ defense was now in full control. Up 41-37 with 2:44 Versailles ran the clock, hit the free throws and notched the victory 48-41.

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