By Mark Ruschau
WEST ALEXANDRIA -- After struggling in their tournament opener on Tuesday against Arcanum before finally posting a 15-point win, the Versailles Tigers came out and played a great game Saturday afternoon as they used a five-minute second period offensive explosion winning 64-42 in Division III sectional semifinal action at the Twin Valley South High School Activity Center.
Versailles will take its 14-8 season mark to the sectional finals Saturday at noon against the Lehman Cavaliers who downed Dayton Christian, 58-40, in the other semifinal. Brookville bows out of the tournament at 13-8.
The numbers of this game really show how dominant Versailles was on this day. Offensively, the Tigers canned 22-of-43 shots from the field for 51 percent. They also connected on 18-of-24 free throws and committed just 11 turnovers.
Versailles had a balanced offensive attack led by freshman sensation Justine Raterman, who missed her first four shots but finished 6-of-13 for the game and finished with 19 points. In all 12 of the 14 Tigers who played scored and all 14 players either scored or grabbed a rebound.
For the second consecutive post season game, Versailles turned in a strong defensive effort as it held Brookville to just 30 shot attempts for the game and forced 19 turnovers. As was the case Tuesday night against Arcanum, Versailles started slowly as it was tied at 10 after eight minutes. In the opening period, Versailles was just 4-of-15 from the floor.
The second period was a whole other story for Versailles as it came out and scored the first 18 points of the period to take a 28-10 lead. In the period, the Tigers missed their first shot of the quarter and then went on to hit seven in a row.
Raterman had five points in the period while Amber Voisard and Laura Grilliot chipped in four each.
As the Tiger offense cranked things up a notch, the Versailles defense continued its solid play in the second period as it held Brookville to just two field goals, both coming in the final two minutes of the quarter.
"The second quarter really helped us," said Versailles coach Jacki Stonebraker. "We got off to a slow start in the first quarter again. Defensively we gave up only 10 points but we just did not get out and go offensively but once we started getting going offensively, we were able to put them under a little and they started to breakdown a little defensively.
"We just thought we were a little bit more athletic then they were and we just told the girls to take the ball to the hole," continued Stonebraker.
Brookville got itself back in the game as it closed to within nine at 28-19 as they score the last five points of the first half and the first four points of the second half.
That was to be as close as Brookville was to get, however, as the Tigers closed out the third quarter with a 15-8 run to take a 43-27 lead after three. Raterman and Lynette Stauffer had five points each in the period.
"They cut the lead to 10, then eight and then we were able to get it back to 15 by the end of the quarter," said Stonebraker. "We just had to play our game and we were able to put them away."