“This was another hard game,” commented Maderia Coach Jim Reynolds.
The difference in the game was guard play. The Mustangs got 15 points from Nate Gullick and 14 points from Rob Tudor. On the other end of the court they were able to frustrate the Tigers’ guards, holding Clayton Nieport to just 8 points in the game.
“Our two leading scorers are Gullick and Tudor,” said Reynolds. “Robbie played some last year as a sophomore and has really taken over the position (guard).”
The Mustangs were able contain the Versailles offense using a pressuring man-to-man defense and some half court trapping. The pressure seemed to bother Versailles and kept them from settling into their half court offense.
“Jim does a nice job with his group and always has a very competitive team,” said Versailles Scott McEldowney. “They show a lot of trapping and different looks and we never got into a flow during the game.”
Early on it was all Maderia as the Mustangs came out hot, building a 7-2 advantage behind five points from Gullick. But, after that the quarter was mostly Versailles. The Tigers outscored Maderia 13-5, behind Bryant Ahrens, who finished with 13 points on the night. When the period closed Versailles was up 15-12.
Not surprisingly the second stanza went back and forth. Versailles dropped went into a 2-3 zone, which seem to cause the Mustangs some problems. But, Reynolds’ crew made the adjustments and settled in. That was how the entire game went, one team would make a change and the other would react.
Adam Bird gave the Mustangs a 22-20 lead and Maderia carried the advantage to the break. They got it to five at one point and were up four 30-26 at the break.
Coming off two conference games during the week, Versailles started to show some fatigue as the game wore on. This led to not only missed shots, but mental mistakes.
“We were not able to execute and I am not sure if you call it mental fatigue, but we just didn’t handle the ball well,” said McEldowney. “
In the early part of the third stanza Ahrens attempted to carry his team, scoring six unanswered points. That made it 34-32 Maderia. From there things remained close with the Mustangs making a run, only to see Versailles storm right back.
The two teams headed to the fourth period with just one point separating them at 40-39 Mustangs.
The score remained frozen at 40-39 during the first few minutes of the period. The Tigers in fact had three opportunities to take the lead, but each possession ended in an unforced turnover. That has the night went for Versailles as they ended up with 26 turnovers.
Unable to take control of the game, Versailles watched as Maderia took advantage. The Mustangs went up 44-40 with just under five minutes to play. The next few minutes were spent with Versailles getting close, only to see Maderia create a bit of separation.
With about a minute to play Maderia’s Matt Luther hit two free throws giving his team a 50-46 advantage. But even that lead turned out not to be safe.
Versailles began extending the game and Maderia helped by missing some crucial free throws. Nieport made it a one point game, 51-50 with field goal but only 11 seconds remained.
On the ensuing play Versailles sent Rob Misleh to the line. His first free throw was on target. The second hit the rim, bounced high off the glass and dropped in giving the Mustangs a 53-50.
Nieport’s three at the buzzer was off and the Mustangs got out of Versailles with a victory.
“I want to say that Versailles is a tremendous host and it is nice coming up to an atmosphere like this,” Reynolds said.