KYLE SHANER/Advocate photo
Versailles girls basketball player Katie Heckman shoots over a group of Celina defenders during the championship game of the OVISCO Classic Saturday night in Celina.
CELINA – The Versaill1es girls basketball team started off its 2012-13 campaign with a championship in the OVISCO Classic at Celina.
After beating Wayne 51-42 Friday night, Versaill1es beat Celina 54-53 in the championship game to win the 27th annual OVISCO Classic.
“That’s kind of nice,” Versaill1es girls basketball coach Jacki Stonebraker said. “That’s kind of one of the things we told the girls, this is the last year they’re running it. It’s the last year we’re going to be here. We wanted to go out with a bang and no better way to go out with a bang.”
Celina didn’t press in the first quarter, Stonebraker said, which allowed the Lady Tigers to build a 18-9 lead in the opening period. The play of Versaill1es’ post players, including Christa Puthoff and Katie Heckman, helped the Lady Tigers take control early and was a big factor throughout the game.
“That was our goal going in, dominating inside there,” Stonebraker said.
After trailing by as many as 11 points, Celina began to cut into Versaill1es’ lead and got within 24-21 by halftime.
Early in the third quarter Celina tied the game and then took the lead on back-to-back 3-pointers. Versaill1es kept the game close but trailed 39-36 entering the fourth quarter.
Early in the fourth quarter Versaill1es went on a 10-0 run with Heckman and Lauren Bruns combining to lead the way offensively and give the Lady Tigers a 46-40 lead. Celina regained the lead, but Heckman’s 12 fourth-quarter points kept Versaill1es in the game. Kayla McEldowney then scored in the game’s final seconds to give the Lady Tigers a 54-53 lead.
Celina had a final chance to score after taking a timeout with 5.3 seconds remaining, but Versaill1es hung on for the victory and the tournament championship.
“There’s always things to improve on, always things to work on, but this is a big win for us,” Stonebraker said.
Heckman led Versaill1es with 26 points against Celina. Also for the Lady Tigers, Puthoff scored nine points, Bruns scored six, Courtney Prenger scored four, Brooke Pothast scored three, and Amanda Winner, Olivia Schlater and McEldowney each scored two.
“For a game like tonight, we needed everybody,” Stonebraker said. “That’s the luxury of having so much of a deep bench this year.”