Versailles dominates Mariemont in regional first round win

We rebounded the ball really well - You’re not going to lose too many ballgames doing that ... Coach Travis Swank

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Carson Heitkamp scores to lead Versailles and all scorers with a game-high 21 points. The Tiger's senior pulled down 13 rebounds to earn a double-double in the team's regional tournament win over Mariemont. (Gaylen Blosser photo)

KETTERING – The Versailles Tigers representing the Southwest 3 District as the No. 11 seed dominated second, third, and fourth quarter play in defeating the Cincinnati Mariemont Warriors, the No. 3 seed team from the Southwest 4 District 68-43 in the opening round of the OHSAA DIII regional tournament to advance to the Elite Eight.

“We did what we needed to do,” said Versailles coach, Travis Swank. “We made everybody take contested shots, kept them in front and when you do that in tournament basketball environment good things are going to happen for you.”

Versailles bolted out to a 6-0 lead in the opening minute and 20 seconds with baskets from Drake Ahrens, AJ Griesdorn, and Carson Heitcamp only to have the Warriors battle back with six unanswered points to knot the score at 6-6 with 5:53 on the first quarter clock with the teams tied at 14-14 after one complete.

AJ Griesdorn rips down one of his game high 14 rebounds to go along with 11 points for a Versailles double-double in the Tigers’ regional tournament win over Mariemont. (Gaylen Blosser photo)

“We went up six nothing right there in the beginning and kind of settled in,” Swank stated. “They countered with some stuff they run really well and effective. We just weren’t on point with our defense. We switched up to a little bit of zone again and that was our ticket again here tonight. We went to our zone and it seemed to frustrate them a little bit. I know they’re a 3-point shooting team but we were contesting all their 3-point shots for the most part.”

The Tigers added 14 points to the second quarter board led by six Heitcamp points while the stingy Versailles defense was holding Mariemont to five points sending the teams to the break with Versailles holding a 28-19 advantage.

Jace Watren dominated third-quarter play driving to the basket for seven buckets and 1-1 at the free throw line to lead Versailles with 15 third-period points in outscoring the Cincinnati team 21-10 to push its lead to a 20-point 49-29 lead with three quarters in the book.

Jace Watren scores two of his 15 third quarter points in Versailles regional tournament win over Cincinnati Mariemont. (Gaylen Blosser photo)

“He is blessed and gifted athletically,” Swank said of Watren. “I thought they had a lot of quick kids on their team – I think Jace was the quickest kid out there on the floor tonight and he got to the rim real easy.”

A Griesdorn bucket in the paint gave Versailles a 51-29 lead to open fourth-quarter action followed by a Heitcamp basket at the rim for a 53-29 advantage at 7:08. A Griesdorn stick back at 5:21 gave the Tigers a 25 points advantage with 5:21 on the game clock on the team’s way to an impressive 25 point win giving Versailles veteran coach, Travis Swank his first career sectional win.

Drake Ahrens drives to the Versailles basket in the Tigers regional tournament win over Cincinnati Mariemont. (Gaylen Blosser photo)

“It’s a good feeling to finally get the monkey off my back,” Swank said of coming into the night 0-3 in regional play. “Our kids are playing really well right now. When things like that come together you get runs like this.”

Heitcamp led Versailles and all scorers with a game-high 21 points. Watren chipped in 19 Tigers’ points with 15 coming in the third period. Ahrens accounted for seven of Versailles’ eight assists on the night.

Versailles seniors Carson Heitcamp and AJ Griesdorn both accounted for double-doubles on the night. Heitkamp 21 points and 13 rebounds, Griesdorn 11 points and 14 rebounds.

Winning Versailles coach, Travis Swank shares a moment with family following 25-point regional tournament win over Cincinnati Mariemont. (Gaylen Blosser photo)

“We rebounded the ball really well,” Swank noted. “You’re not going to lose too many ballgames doing that. Carson has been fired up here this last month so we need to have him continue to do good things for us. He is just tenacious right now and he doesn’t want to end his season. You can see that with the way he is playing right now. AJ was around the basket and playing physical.”

Versailles monopolized the boards 40-16 while shooting an impressive 62.2 percent (28-45) from the field for the game and an even more impressive second half 73.9 percent (17-23) from the field. Ahrens accounted for seven of Versailles’ eight assists on the night. The Tigers went 11-20 for 55 at the free throw line.

“Our kids are starting to execute really well,” Coach Swank concluded. “Our guys have learned through a lot of hard work.”

BOXSCORE: 

VERSAILLES – C. Heitkamp 21, J. Watren 19, AJ Griesdorn 11, D. Ahrens 11, E. Wilker 3, T. Moorman 2, G. White 1 – TOTALS 27 11-20 1 68

MARIEMONT – C. Tully 14, N. Theye 6, T. Letton 5, Sam Stalzer 5, D. Bronson 3, Socko Stalzer 3, W. Cahall 3, P. Hanser 2, S. Klekar 1, J. Lindner 1 – 43

3-POINTERS

Versailles 1 (J. Watren 1)

Mariemont 6 (C. Tully 2, D. Bronson 1, Sam Stalzer 1, W. Cahall 1, N. Theye 1)

SCORE by QUARTERS

14-14-21-19 68 Versailles

14-05-10-14 43 Mariemont