COLUMBUS — Going against Proctorville Fairland and its 6-foot 4-inch star Terra Stapleton, Versailles still was able to control the paint on Friday and advance to the state championship game with a 67-60 victory.
The Versailles girls basketball team outrebounded Fairland 43-31 in the Division III state semifinals of the Ohio High School Athletic Association tournament, which coach Jacki Stonebraker said was a huge part of her team’s success.
“I thought the entire game we just controlled the boards,” Stonebraker said. “I know they got a couple loose rebounds at the end, but I thought the entire game we just controlled the boards. That was huge for us.”
Versailles held Stapleton, a senior who is committed to the University of Michigan, to just 11 points and eight rebounds on Friday, shy of her average of 17.8 points and 10.4 rebounds per game.
“It was a lot of fun to go against the taller girl because I can bang a little bit more in there and not get such cheap fouls,” 6-foot Versailles senior Katie Heckman said about going against The Associated Press’ Division III co-player of the year.
While the outcome was in Versailles’ favor, the state semifinal game at Ohio State’s the Jerome Schottenstein Center didn’t start off well for the Tigers.
After a layup by Versailles senior Emily Harman began the game’s scoring, Fairland went on a 12-0 run over the course of the next five minutes.
“We didn’t start the game exactly how I wanted to start the game,” Stonebraker said. “I thought they kind of pushed the ball up on us. They really got a lot of fast-break opportunities, and we weren’t ready for that. But I thought we handled the beginning of the game pretty well, and we really stepped up. And by the end of the first quarter we did a nice job of containing them and knowing exactly what we needed to do.”
After the Dragons took a double-digit lead, the Tigers got back on track and scored eight straight points from Heckman, Harman, Olivia Schlater and Amanda Winner to get back in the game. At the end of the first quarter, Versailles trailed 14-10.
“I was confident in my team only to the fact that we had been there before,” Stonebraker said. “If you look back at our schedule, we were down at Minster 12-2, same type of situation, and we just kept chipping back until we had it under control. The last couple games haven’t been like that. We’ve really set the tone and really played well from the very beginning. But I think just that experience of having been down a couple games prior in the season really helped us out … and the senior leadership; I can’t go wrong with nine seniors.”
A 3-pointer from Rachel Kremer to begin the second quarter, Versailles’ only 3-pointer of the game, then cut the deficit to one point at 14-13.
After another Fairland basket, Versailles went on a 6-0 run with scoring from Christa Puthoff and Brooke Pothast to regain the lead for the first time since the opening minute of the game.
The game remained close with scoring from Chloe Warvel, Pothast and Heckman for Versailles keeping Fairland at bay until late in the second quarter when the Dragons scored to go up 25-24. But with just 25 seconds left in the half Lauren Bruns hit a jumper to give Versailles a 26-25 lead going into halftime.
A Fairland layup 32 seconds into the third quarter gave the Dragons the lead once again. From there the Tigers went on an 8-0 run with scoring from Puthoff, Bruns and Warvel to go up 34-27.
Fairland fought back once again and took a 40-39 lead with 3:20 left in the third quarter, the Dragons’ final lead of the game.
Heckman then made a pair of free throws to regain the lead, and she and Puthoff made a basket each to end the quarter with Versailles leading 45-41.
Versailles went on a 10-2 run to begin the fourth quarter, increasing its lead to 55-43 with three minutes left in the game, as Heckman and Puthoff continued to dominate inside.
“Me and Katie love that inside,” Puthoff said. “We go against each other every day so we could go at Stapleton because if we can go against each other, we can go against about anybody.”
From there Versailles was able to maintain its lead, finishing the game with a 67-60 victory to advance to the state final.
Puthoff led Versailles with 15 points in the state semifinal victory. Also for the Tigers, Heckman scored 13 points, Bruns scored 10, Pothast scored eight, Warvel scored seven, Harman scored four, Kremer scored three, Amanda Winner scored three, Schlater scored two, and Taylor Winner scored two.
Caitlin Stone led Fairland with 15 points. Also for the Dragons, Taylor Perry scored 13 points, Stapleton scored 11, Mackenzie Riley scored seven, Chandler Fulks scored five, Kelsey Riley scored five, and Jenna Fulks scored four.
Versailles outshot Fairland 47.9 percent to 30.9 percent, from the field holding Fairland to 23.5 percent in the second half as the Tigers advanced to the Division III state championship game against Columbus Africentric Early College, who beat Smithville 44-22 in the other Division III semifinal.
Versailles vs Fairland
03/14/14 3:00 p.m. at Value City Arena (Columbus, Ohio)
At Value City Arena (Columbus, Ohio)
VERSAILLES 67, FAIRLAND 60
Puthoff, Christa 7-10 1-6 15; Heckman, Katie 5-9 3-4 13; Bruns, Lauren 3-6
4-4 10; Pothast, Brooke 0-4 8-12 8; Warvel, Chloe 2-4 3-4 7; Harman, Emily
2-7 0-0 4; Kremer, Rachel 1-2 0-0 3; Winner, Amanda 1-4 1-2 3; Schlater,
Olivia 1-1 0-0 2; Winner, Taylor 1-1 0-0 2; McEldowney, Kayla 0-0 0-0 0;
Groff, Tami 0-0 0-0 0; Prenger, Courtney 0-0 0-0 0; Hyre, Shelby 0-0 0-0 0.
Totals 23-48 20-32 67.
Stone, Caitlin 4-12 4-5 15; Perry, Taylor 4-10 4-4 13; Stapleton, Terra 2-11
7-8 11; Riley, Mackenzie 2-2 3-4 7; Fulks, Chandler 2-10 0-0 5; Riley,
Kelsey 1-8 3-5 5; Fulks, Jenna 2-2 0-2 4; Dickess, Bir 0-0 0-0 0. Totals
17-55 21-28 60.
Versailles……………….. 10 16 19 22 - 67
Fairland…………………. 14 11 16 19 - 60
3-point goals—Versailles 1-5 (Kremer, Rachel 1-2; Bruns, Lauren 0-2;
Winner, Amanda 0-1), Fairland 5-20 (Stone, Caitlin 3-10; Fulks, Chandler
1-7; Perry, Taylor 1-2; Riley, Kelsey 0-1). Fouled out—Versailles-Winner,
Amanda, Fairland-None. Rebounds—Versailles 43 (Winner, Amanda 7; Heckman,
Katie 7), Fairland 31 (Stapleton, Terra 8). Assists—Versailles 13 (Pothast,
Brooke 5), Fairland 10 (Stone, Caitlin 4). Total fouls—Versailles 18,
Fairland 24. Technical fouls—Versailles-None, Fairland-None.