By Rob Kiser
and Josh Brown
VERSAILLES — Versailles girls basketball coach Jacki Stonebraker knew no matter what happened Tuesday night, her team was going to be in for a big challenge — and learn a lot — when Tippecanoe visited the Tigers gym.
It was a clash of the defending Division III state champion Tigers and the D-II regional runners-up from a year ago, and Versailles battled hard to the end — but Tippecanoe was just too good on this night in a 54-48 victory.
“This is the kind of game you look for, and we had it in our third game,” Stonebraker said. “Tipp (Tippecanoe) is a really good team. We knew that coming in. We just need to continue to do the things we are doing well and work on the things we need to get better at.”
After being down by double digits late in the first half, Versailles got within four early in the fourth quarter and stayed close the rest of the way.
With Carly Clodfelter scoring 14 points in the opening half, Tipp had widened a 15-10 first-quarter lead to 27-16 late in the first half. Just before the buzzer, Kristin Langston stole the ball and banked in a 3 to make it 27-19 at the break.
Versailles came out in a box-and-one on Clodfelter in the second half, with Clair Schmitmeyer, Ellen Peters and Camille Watren sharing the role. Clodfelter was held without a field goal in the second half and scored just two points.
She played only 41 seconds in the fourth quarter before fouling out with 3:07 to go.
At the same time, the Tigers began to claw their way back in the game. Baskets by Danielle Winner and Kami McEldowney to start the fourth quarter had Versailles within 34-30 with 7:20 to go.
After an offensive rebound on a missed free throw, Sammie Rowland buried a 3. Aubrey Cox added four points to open the lead to nine, but McEldowney and Winner scored on offensive rebounds to get Versailles within 41-36 when Clodfelter fouled out.
Again, the Red Devils were up to the challenge and Versailles never got any closer.
Clodfelter led Tipp with 16 points and six rebounds, while Allison Mader had 14 points and six rebounds.
Cox added 11 points and nine rebounds. Rowland finished with eight points, Cassidy Wasson had three and Kelsey Wertz had two.
Winner had a career-high 17 points and pulled down seven rebounds, while McEldowney had 10 points and six rebounds. Versailles lost starter in Lauren Monnin late in the first half with an unknown injury to her left arm.
Things don’t get easier for the Devils, either. Tippecanoe (2-1) — which lost to the defending D-IV state champion, Fort Loramie, in its second game of the season — will open up Central Buckeye Conference Kenton Trail Division play at home Saturday against rival Kenton Ridge.
ME 71, TVS 28
CASSTOWN — Miami East won another game by the end of the first quarter Tuesday night, jumping out to a 26-1 lead after the first eight minutes and routing Twin Valley South 71-28 in Cross County Conference play.
Haley Howard poured in 15 of those first-quarter points and finished the night with a game-high 18 points and 15 rebounds. Kyndall Hellyer added 14 points and six rebounds, Morgan Haney had another big night with 14 points, six assists and five steals and Amber Kinnison chipped in 10 points.
“We got off to a fast start, building a 26-1 first-quarter lead tonight,” Miami East coach Bruce Vanover said. “We controlled the boards with 20 offensive rebounds, and we set the tempo defensively with 19 steals.”
Miami East hosts Arcanum on Dec. 3.
M-U 55, TCN 20
LEWISBURG — Milton-Union rebounded from its tough loss to Newton on Monday, jumping all over Tri-County North on the road and coasting to a 55-20 victory Tuesday night.
Liz Renner led the Bulldogs (2-1) with a game-high 15 points and added nine rebounds and five assists. Freshman Kristen Dickison added nine points, eight rebounds and three assists, Beyonce Bobbitt had seven points and six rebounds, Michaela Fullmer scored eight points, Taylor Jacobs had a big all-around night with five points, 11 rebounds, three assists and three blocks and Bri Stone chipped in two points.
Milton-Union hosts Arcanum Saturday.
Bethel 30, Bradford 29
BRADFORD — Bradford’s Courtney Schmidt hit the game-winning shot with 15 seconds remaining and Bradford couldn’t get the shot it wanted on its final possession Tuesday night as the Bees won their second straight to start the season, 30-29 over the Railroaders.
“Courtney hit a 15-footer with about 15 seconds left to give us a one-point lead,” Bethel coach Mark Mays said. “Bradford was trying to get the ball in to their big girl, Mackenzie Weldy, but they had to settle for a shot on the baseline. Tia Koewler tied up the rebound for us and we got the ball in and ran out the clock.”
Alaina Hawthorn had 10 points and Kayla Grable added eight to lead the Bees (2-0, 1-0 Cross County Conference). Schmidt and Delaney Hartert each had four points and Morgan Crase and Koewler each scored two.
“The main difference between this year and last is turnovers,” Mays said. “We had 11 against Piqua in our opener, and we had nine tonight. We’re taking care of the basketball, and that’s helping our confidence level. That’s the big difference.”
Mandi Bates led the Ralroaders (1-2, 1-1 CCC) with 12 points and Weldy added eight points, seven rebounds and three steals.
Bradford (1-2, 1-1 CCC) hosts Greenville Saturday, while Bethel hosts Franklin Monroe Dec. 3.
ARCANUM — Brooke Gostomsky posted a double-double to lead Covington to its third straight win, 51-40 over a tough Arcanum team Tuesday night.
Gostomsky led the Buccaneers (3-0, 1-0 Cross County Conference) with 15 points, 11 rebounds and five steals as the Buccs put the game away with a 22-13 third quarter. Crowell added 15 points, Horner scored nine and Carly Shell had seven.
Covington travels to Versailles Saturday.
Rob Kiser can be reached at (937) 451-3334. Contact Josh Brown at (937) 552-2132, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.