When asked if she ever thought her team could go 20-0 Stonebraker’s answer was emphatic.
Said Stonebraker: “No, because it’s so tough to go undefeated in the MAC.”
The numbers certainly back up Stonebraker’s early season doubts. Going into the final week of the play Versailles opponents were a combined 194-176. Along the way they have beaten 19-1 Miami East, 16-3 Delphos St. Johns, 15-3 Lehman Catholic and 17-3 Tipp City. Combined with playing in the always difficult MAC, the Tigers have faced and tackled some big opponents.
The Tigers started their run with wins over Parma Heights Holy Name and Celina in the opening weekend of the season. For the first 10 games the closest any team got was Ft. Loramie who Versailles knocked off 54-42. The second half of the season has been a bit tougher, but only St. Johns has been within single digits when the buzzer sounded. The reason is clear, the Tigers are a team.
The one thing that Stonebraker and crew have always preached is team and the 20-0 record is a result of team work. Leading the effort are seniors Emily Bohman and Justine Raterman.
Raterman, who is Stonebraker’s little sister is clearly the offensive leader of the team. She is averaging 19 points per game and appears to have turned her game up a knotch. In games against Tipp City and Miami East, Raterman recorded a double-double in both games with 19 points 16 rebounds against Tipp and 24 points 10 rebounds against Miami East.
“Justine is the heart of our offense this season because of her ability to see the entire floor and keep everyone involved,” said Stonebraker.
The other main offensive threat is Bohman who is averaging 15 points per game from her guard position. The senior entered this season with a new found determination something not lost on her coach.
“Emily has really stepped up her game and you can just see her determination and desire before every game.”
Like Raterman, Bohman has also been impressive down the stretch with 14 and 18 points against Tipp City and Miami East. As the stage gets bigger, these two seem to shine brighter.
“Justine and Emily are really playing well together and have grasped the concept of knowing where each other are (on the floor). They also have done a great job of making sure everyone is involved in the game. ”
Bohman and Raterman do most of the scoring, but it has been the willingness of the other players to not only accept, but excel in their roles.
Stonebraker works in the 10 players which starts defensive specialists Mallory Barga, who Stonbraker has deemed the heart of her defense, Nicci Schlater and Olivia Liette. Emily Eilerman and Emily Frey help Raterman in the post, while Karen Smith and Courtney Barlage are a part of a three headed rotation at guard along with Barga.
“You can go right down the line with each girl and how they have accepted their role and flourished in it,” said Stonebraker.
The recipe has worked to perfection so far this season as the Tigers are holding teams to 33 points per game. No Versailles opponent has hit 50 points against the stellar Tigers defense. As Stonebraker is quick to point out, defense is the number one priority.
“I truly believe the best offense is your defense,” said Stonebraker. “The girls love to play defense and they take a lot of pride in playing it”
Versailles is very aware that individuals win awards, but teams win championships and that is what the Tigers are seeking in 2008.
The Tigers opened tourney play Tuesday with an 89-3 drubbing of Preble Shawnee.