The game was just another example of how difficult it is to beat a MAC team, especially on their home court. Brookville falls to 10-5, while Versailles improves to 6-9.
“We needed this win because we have a tough stretch of games coming up,” said McEldowney. “It is nice to get a confidence builder likes this. The game was pretty physical and the kids did a good job handling it.”
Versailles scored from almost every point on the floor. Nieport and Richard combined for five three pointers, while Bryant Ahrens and Pat Mescher worked in the post, totaling 25 points in the paint.
“It makes us pretty good when we get four players in double digit scoring,” said McEldowney. “With the balance scoring it makes us difficult to guard and keeps us from becoming so one dimensional.”
Brookville got a big game from Branden Kindell who dropped in 17 points in the losing effort.
For the first quarter and a half the game was tight. The two teams took turns with the lead and trading baskets. After the Tigers jumped out to an 8-1 advantage Brookville roared back and had a 14-13 lead after one period of play.
Led by Kindell, the Blue Devils built a 17-13 lead early in the second period, but Versailles slowly started to take control of the game. A 10-1 Tigers run built a 23-18 lead.
The two teams traded blows and it was 26-25 Tigers when the game swung to Versailles. Nieport hit a three and was fouled. He missed the free throw, but Ahrens snatched the rebound and got the put back, making it 30-26. The half ended with the Tigers up 32-29.
Ahrens’ play at the end of the half sparked Versailles and they never looked back. Taking control of the paint in the second half, the Tigers started to pull away. Led by Ahrens Versailles started the third stanza on an 11-4 run. That turned a tight 34-29 game into a 45-33 blowout.
The Tigers did most of the damage in the post as Brookville seemingly had no answer for Ahrens, who took over the game. The 6’5” inch forward utilized his speed to find holes in the Devils defense and covert opportunities into points.
On the other end of the court, Versailles mixed in a 2-3 zone defense with man-to-man to frustrate the Blue Devils offense. When the smoked cleared on the third stanza the Tigers were up 51-36 and in control of the game.
Stunned by the third period onslaught the Devils came out looking for a comeback. That never materialized as the Tigers were simply too strong. Versailles continued being patient on offense and aggressive on defense, limiting Brookville’s offensive possessions. As the period ticked away Versailles maintained the advantaged and garnered a much needed victory.
“We talk to the kids all the time about how playing in the MAC prepares us for the tournament,” said McEldowney. “We are not going to see teams any better than the top teams in the conference and that really prepare you for sectional play.”