By Rob Kiser
SPRINGFIELD —Lauren Monnin and the Versailles girls basketball seniors got to add one more godl medal to their collection Saturday —along with another strand of net.
The Lady Tigers won their fifth straight Division III distict title, defeating Waynesville 56-32 at Springfield High School Saturday.
Versailles, 20-6, will return to Springfield at 8 p.m. Wednesday to play 23-3 West Liberty-Salem in the Division III regional semifinals in a matchup of Lady Tigers. WLS defeated Madiera 47-38 Saturday.
“It just gets more exciting every year,” Monnin said with a smile after being the first Versailles girl to climb the ladder and get a piece of the net.
And, against an undersized Spartan team, it was the 5-8 post who played a big of role as anybody in the win.
“I thought Danielle Winner (the Tigers 6-2 post) would have a big game,” Versailles coach Jacki Stonebraker said. “I thought the real key to the game was the way Lauren Monnin took the ball at them and attacked the basket today.”
Monnin finished with 15 points and five rebounds.
“I am usually the underdog inside,” Monnin said with a laugh. “It was nice to play against girls that weren’t a lot bigger than me.”
While Monnin scored eight in the opening quarter, Waynesville was still within 9-8 late in the first quarter, with freshman Rachel Murray scoring the Spartans first six points.
“I think she (Rachel Murray) raised our tempo with her play,” Stonebraker said. “Then, she kind of backed off after that.”
From that point, until the middle of the third quarter, Versailles went on a 32-4 run to open a 41-12 lead.
“It didn’t seem like that — when you are coaching in the game,” Stonebraker said. “But, I am sure that is what happened.”
A big part of that was shifting out of a full-court press and giving Waynesville a 3-2 zone look to start the second quarter.
“”I think it did bother them,” Stonebraker said. “I think it did keep them from penetrating to the basket.”
It is nothing new for the Tigers to take over a game with their defense.
“We just knew we had to step it up on defense and take control,” Monnin said.
Versailles had a 17-4 advantage in the second quarter — making it 30-12 at half — with Winner scoring seven points in the quarter and guard Camille Watren adding six.
“Camille (Watren) hit some big shots today,” Stonebraker said. “We started slow. But, that is going to happen, because we are always going to get everybody’s best shot. But, I think we wear them down — going up and down the court — and you could see that today.”
There was no relaxing at halftime.
“We told them at halftime not to be deceived by the score,” Stonebraker said. “Waynesville is a dangerous offensive team. That is one of the things we kept telling them. That we couldn’t let up. She (Rachel Murray) is capable of taking over a game at any time.”
The Lady Tigers didn’t let that happen, leading 47-18 after three quarters.
“The second quarter quarter has been strong for us, but I thought we had a good knockout punch in the third quarter,” Stonebraker said. “I never expected the margin of victory to be what was today.”
Winner added 11 points and seven rebounds to the Lady Tigers cause, while Watren finished with 11 and Kami Mceldowney added nine.
Aubrey Rains scored nine points for Waynesville and Murray added eight.
Versailles scorched the nets from everywhere.
The Lady Tigers were 21 of 34 from the floor for 61 percent and 11 of 13 from the line for 85 percent.
Waynesville was 11 of 45 from the floor for 24 percent and nine of 10 from the line for 90 percent.
Versailles won the battle of the boards 26-12, but had 21 turnovers to Waynesville’s 16.
“We got some easy baskets off turnovers, but so did they,” Stonebraker said. “That was the one drawback today.”
But, it did take any tarnish off another gold-medal effort.
Kami McEldowney 4-0-9, Camille Watren 4-1-11, Kristin Langston 1-0-2, Danielle Winner 5-1-11, Lauren Monnin 4-7-15, Ellen Peters 0-0-0, Clair Schmitmeyer 0-2-2, Kami Ording 0-0-0, Logan Shimp 2-0-4, Emily Marshal 1-0-2, Brynna Blakeley 0-0-0, Emily Langenkamp 0-0-0, Elizabeth Ording 0-0-0. Totals: 21-11-56.
Aubrey Rains 2-4-9, Brianna Barton 0-0-0, Rachel Murray 4-0-8, Taylor Ritter 0-0-0, Kami Purkey 0-0-0, Marcella Sizer 1-3-5, Liana Webb 0-0-0, Kerstyn Purkey 3-0-6, Lynzie Hartshorn 1-0-2, Kourtney Rentz 0-2-2, Evelyn Schroeder 0-0-0. Totals: 11-9-32.
3-point field goals — Versailles: McEldowney, Watren (2). Waynesville: Rains.
Score By Quarters
Versailles 13 30 47 56
Waynesville 8 12 18 32
Records: Versailles 20-6, Waynesville 18-8.