By Rob Kiser
RUSSIA — One glance at the scorebook after the Versailles girls basketball team’s 53-30 win over Russia told you all you needed to know.
No Versailles girls scored in double figures — and all 12 girls reached the scoring column as the Tigers improved to 11-1, while Russia dropped to 8-2 after winning its first eight games.
“That’s awesome, isn’t it?” Versailles coach Jacki Stonebraker said. “That’s what I love about these girls. They are always cheering for each other.”
Russia coach Andy Timmerman noticed it, as well.
“I think they had 12 girls score,” Timmerman said. “I just think that shows you how much depth they have. This is (a really tough stretch playing Minster and Versailles back-to-back). But it is a good learning experience. I thought we played a lot harder and competed a lot better today (than against Minster).”
And there were moments when Russia appeared on the verge of staying with Versailles.
Russia led 3-1, only to watch Versailles run off seven straight points, including a 3 by Kami McEldowney, and finish the quarter on an 11-2 run.
But in the second quarter, two baskets by Laurissa Poling and one by Whitney Pleiman had the Raiders back within 14-11.
“It was a battle in there with the cousins,” Stonebraker said with a smile. “The (Laurissa) Poling girl is a load, and the cousins (Poling and Danielle and Lindsey Winner of Versailles) look forward to going up against each other.”
Once again, Versailles’ depth showed.
Ellen Peters hit a 3 and Hailey McEldowney, who came off the bench to lead the Tigers with nine points, found the range from behind the arc as Versailles closed the half with a 10-2 run to make it 24-13.
Another factor was Versailles’ defense forcing a number of turnovers in that stretch.
“You can’t make any mistake against them,” Timmerman said. “They are going to take advantage of any mistake.”
Jenna Cordonnier scored the first basket of the second half to make it 24-15, but Versailles answered with another 10-2 run to make it 34-17, and Russia could not get back in the game.
Danielle Winner had four points in the run, Peters and Hailey McEldowney had two each and Elizabeth Ording hit two free throws.
“Our defense really stepped up in key moments today,” Stonebraker said. “I was really happy with that.”
Danielle Winner had eight points for Versailles, while Peters scored six and Kami McEldowney had six points and six assists.
“That’s what Kami (McEldowney) does,” Stonebraker said. “She does a great job of seeing the entire floor.”
Jenna Cordonnier led Russia with 14 points, while Poling had seven points and nine rebounds.
Versailles was 22 of 49 from the floor for 45 percent and was five of 10 from the line for 50 percent, while Russia was 11 of 34 from the floor for 32 percent and seven of 11 from the line for 64 percent.
Versailles won the battle of the boards 25-20 and had eight turnover to Russia’s 18.
The Tigers will play at Parkway Thursday, while Russia will host Fairlawn the same night.
“I feel like we have played an NBA schedule in December,” Stonebraker said about having 12 games in. “It feels like we will get a little break, but then then we have a road game with Parkway and then Tipp shortly after that, so we still have some tough games ahead.”
And as Saturday showed, the depth and balance to handle it.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.
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