Versailles defeats Eastern Brown; state D-III final next

Versailles defeated Eastern Brown 58-34 in a girls high school basketball D-II state semifinal at OSU’s Schottenstein Center on Friday, March 17, 2017. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF

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Versailles defeated Eastern Brown 58-34 in a girls high school basketball D-II state semifinal at OSU’s Schottenstein Center on Friday, March 17, 2017. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF

A traditional small-school power in most sports, the Versailles girls high school basketball program has been especially record worthy. And the Tigers have taken that Darke County moxie to the next level.

Versailles will play for its third state championship in four years today. The Tigers earned another title shot by taking out Winchester Eastern Brown 58-34 in Friday’s Division III state semifinals at Ohio State University’s Schottenstein Center.

GIRLS SCHEDULE: State semi results, finals pairings

Awaiting Versailles (26-3) at the Schott at 5:15 p.m. today is Gates Mills Gilmour Academy (23-5), which advanced with a 65-54 semi defeat of defending D-III champ Columbus Africentric in Friday’s opener.

Versailles won a D-III state title in 2015 and was the runner-up in ’14.

“It’s unbelievable,” Versailles coach Jackie Stonebraker said. “When you look back … I don’t know how to explain it. These girls have risen to the challenge. They had high expectations year in and year out. I don’t think that comes from the coaching staff as much as it comes from the community. To have those high expectations and to be able to perform at that level is an incredible thing.”

ALTER ADVANCES: Knights take out Ottawa-Glandorf in D-II semi

Averaging just five points, Camille Watren popped three 3-pointers in the first quarter to ignite a rout of Eastern (26-2), which is located in Brown County west of Cincinnati. Watren and Danielle Winner each had 14 points to lead the Tigers. Elizabeth Ording and Kami McEldowney added 11 each in a balanced attack.

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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Versailles juniors Danielle Winner (left) and Kami McEldowney were key in a 58-34 defeat of Winchester Brown in a girls high school basketball D-III state semifinal at OSU's Schottenstein Center on Friday, March 17, 2017.

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

“We have an awesome program going,” McEldowney said with a nod to the half-dozen sets of siblings among the Tigers. “It’s amazing. It’s so fun.”

Allison Day led Eastern with 11 points.

KEY POINTS: Doesn’t get any better than this

Versailles is on an 11-game win streak and has lost only to Fort Loramie, Tippecanoe and Minster. Versailles defeated Ottawa-Glandorf in the 2015 D-III title game and lost to Africentric in the ’14 championship.

Anchored in Cuyahoga County, it’ll be the first time Gilmour Academy has played for a state title. The Lancers’ only other final four was last season.

Stonebraker is counting on more of the same for Versailles, which also won a state title in 2008.

“They push each other every day in practice,” said Stonebraker, a 1995 Versaille graduate. “That’s the key. They never let down from freshmen all the way to seniors. They always want to be better. That’s the morale we have and hopefully it stays because it’s a lot of fun. It’s been a good ride.”

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