Versailles advances with dramatic comeback win over Lakers

It wasn’t looking very good there in the first half and our want to showed up there in the second half ... Coach Travis Swank

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Drake Ahrens hits a baseline jumper to give Versailles a come-from-behind tournament win over Indian Lake. (Gaylen Blosser photo)

VANDALIA – The No. 11 seed Versailles Tigers stayed alive in OHSAA DIII tournament action gutting out a 43-42 come-from-behind win over the No. 2 seed Indian Lake Lakers landing the Tigers in a district final for the seventh time in eight years.

“It shows that our program has had success,” said Versailles coach, Travis Swank. “This is going to be our seventh in my eight years as the head coach but that also shows that we have had some good players too.”

Versailles had to battle back from an 11-point second-quarter deficit to earn the Saturday night tournament win.

Jace Watren drives to the basket for a Versailles score in tournament win over Indian Lake. (Gaylen Blosser photo)

The Lakers took a one-point 13-12 first-quarter lead after one period of play and took advantage of an early 12-2 second-quarter scoring run to lead 25-14 at the 1:32 mark. Indian Lake took the second by a 15-7 score sending the teams to the break with Indian Lake holding a nine-point 28-19 lead.

“Defensively we were pretty solid even early on,” Swank stated. “We tried to take away what they did best and our kids worked at it all this week to lock them down best we could but at the end of the day kids have to make plays.”

Versailles battled back in the third to trail 30-26 at 4:43 with the teams playing the final three minutes of the third to a 4-4 standoff sending the game to the fourth with Indian Lake holding a 34-30 advantage.

“Our kids bought in and we said at the halftime, we get it down to four or five points, put the pressure on them and that’s exactly where we were at going into the fourth quarter and momentum switched into our favor,” Swank noted. “One of the things we talked about was our want to. It wasn’t looking very good there in the first half and our want to showed up there in the second half.”

The Tigers wrestled the lead away from the Lakers with Versailles senior, AJ Greisdorn driving to the bucket for an old-fashioned 3-point play to give Versailles a 39-38 lead with 2:56 on the game clock.

AJ Griesdorn scores for Versailles in OHSAA tournament win over Lakers. (Gaylen Blosser photo)

“That probably could have gone either way, a block or a charge but it went our way here tonight,” Coach Swank said of Griesdorn’s drive to the basket. “He just stayed with it, he didn’t want his season to end, his basketball career to end here tonight and willed his way to the basket, kept himself into the game and did a great job for us here in the second half.”

Trailing Indian Lake 42-39, AJ Griesdorn scored in the lane to cut the Laker’s lead to 42-41 with 0:31 to play.

Versailles’ smothering defensive play forced the Lakes to throw the ball out of bounds with 15 seconds remaining opening the door for a Tigers win. Drake Ahrens attempted to get to the basket on the left baseline but was forced to pull up for a five-foot jumper hitting nothing but net for the winning basket. Indian Lake attempted a desperation 3-pointer just short of the half-court line missing the mark.

“We just passed each other in the locker room and I told him ‘big games for big dudes’ and he’s becoming a big dude,” Swank said of his sophomore, Drake Ahrens. “That’s what we need – him to step up and be a dude for us for us to have success.”

Carson Heitcamp hits a Versailles 3-pointer in Tigers tournament win over Indian Lake. (Gaylen Blosser photo)

Three players led Versailles in scoring with 11 points each, AJ Griesdorn, Drake Ahrens, and Carson Heitkamp. Jace Watren also finished in double figures for the Tigers accounting for 10 points. Heitkamp pulled down 15 rebounds giving him a double-double on the night.

“He’s been a monster on the boards,” said Swank. “We needed every single rebound from him. He’s been a big sparkplug for us this year.”

Versailles head varsity basketball coach Travis Swank celebrates come-from-behind tournament win over Indian Lake. (Gaylen Blosser photo)

Versailles will face Cincinnati Gamble Montessori at UD Arena, Wednesday, March 6th with a 5:30 p.m. start time.

BOXSCORE:

VERSAILLES – AJ Griesdorn 11, D. Ahrens 11, C. Heitkamp 11, J. Watren 10 – TOTALS 14 3-5 4 43

INDIAN LAKE – C. Nicol 15, B. Reisinger 11, A. Pequinot 5, C. Tuttle 4, L. Murphy 3, M. Hall 2, D. Frinfrock 2 – TOTALS 10 7-7 5 42

3-POINTERS

Versailles 4 (J. Watren 2, D. Ahrens 1, C. Heitkamp 1)

Indian Lake 5 (C. Nicol 3, B. Reisinger 1, A. Pequinot 1)

SCORE by QUARTERS

12-07-11-13 43 Versailles

13-15-06-08 42 Indian Lake