By Rob Kiser
PITSBURG — It is has become a typical event for girls basketball power Versailles in the early rounds of the D-III sectional tournament.
And Thursday night at The Hangar at Franklin Monroe High School was no exception.
Opening against 17th seed Triad, the Lady Tigers familiarized themselves with the surroundings and showed why they are state ranked with an 86-16 victory in opening round action.
Versailles, 20-3 and the second seed, will now play 18th seed Northridge at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in second round action.
“It is good to get out on the floor,” Versailles coach Jacki Stonebraker said. “The color of the gym is a little different. It looks a little different from our gym and it is a longer floor. So, it is always good to get out there and get used to the floor.”
And the Lady Tigers set the tone from the start.
Using full-court pressure for the opening quarter, Versailles forced 12 Cardinal turnovers and took a 32-4 lead.
“We like to use the defense to come out and get us going,” Stonebraker said. “And it did tonight.”
Versailles mixed things up throughout the game, showing half-court trap, zone and a man defenses. The Lady Tigers led 37-8 at halftime and 73-14 after three quarters.
“We changed up our pressure,” Stonebraker said. “Girls guarding different girls or changing angles. We played a number of different defense and I thought the girls did a good job with it. I thought they did a good job communicating out on the court. They were asking do I have this girl or who has number 20 just to make sure they were in the right defense.”
Versailles was also able to go deep to its bench almost immediately.
The Lady Tigers played 11 girls in the first quarter and 13 of the 15 Versailles girls scored.
“That is a good number,” Stonebraker said. “Some girls are not scorers. They understand their role and know what they need to do. They did a good job of that.”
Kami McEldowney led Versailles with 24 points, while Danielle Winner added 15 points and nine rebounds.
Clair Schmitmeyer scored 12 off the bench and grabbed five rebounds, while guard Camille Watren had seven rebounds.
Tori Thomas led Triad with seven points.
Versailles was 36 of 70 from the floor for 51 percent and seven off 11 from the line for 64 percent.
Triad was six of 22 from the floor for 27 percent and made both of its free throw attempts.
Versailles won the battle of the boards 43-13 and had nine turnovers to the Cardinals 30 — while getting familiar with its first stop on the tournament trail.
Kami McEldowney 9-2-24, Camille Watren 2-0-5, Ellen Peters 0-0-0, Elizabeth Ording 3-0-6, Danielle Winner 7-1-15, Brynna Blakeley 2-0-4, Clair Schmitmeyer 4-4-12, Lindsey Winner 1-0-2, Kami Ording 1-0-3, Mallory Marshal 0-0-0, Emily Langenkamp 2-0-4, Bailey Huffman 2-0-4, Hailey McEldowney 1-0-3. Caitlin McEldowney 1-0-2, Kelsey Custenborder 1-0-2. Totals: 36-7-86.
Alea Ferguson 1-0-2, Kendell Hughes 0-0-0, Makenzie Cauley 1-0-2, Tori Thomas 3-0-7, Kristin Bailey 0-2-2, Shelby Sheets 1-0-3. Totals: 6-2-16.
3-point field goals — Versailles: Kami McEldowney (4), Watren, Kami Ording, Hailey McEldowney.
Score By Quarters
Versailles 32 47 73 86
Triad 4 8 14 16
Records: Versailles 20-3, Triad 3-20.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.