Versailles earns District Championship win over Gamble Montessori

Proud of our kids and the guts they showed here tonight ... Coach Travis Swank

1052
Versailles OHSAA DIII District Champions with 19 point win over Cincinnati Gamble Montessori (Gaylen Blosser photo)

DAYTON – The Versailles Tigers raced to a 74-55 District Championship win over the Cincinnati Gamble Montessori Gators in Wednesday night high school OHSAA DIII tournament action at Dayton’s UD Arena.

“Proud of our kids and the guts they showed here tonight,” said Versailles coach, Travis Swank. “We played without fear and that is what it came down to. We played with a lot of heart, a lot of intensity.”

AJ Griesdorn gets hammered going to the Versailles basket in Tigers District Championship win over Gamble Montessori. (Gaylen Blosser photo)

Versailles shelved the 3-point shot (0-2) while electing to drive to the basket, executing well-disciplined play and dominating on the boards with most points coming in the paint and free throw line to earn the district title.

“Our kids did what we asked them to do,” Swank stated. “We controlled the glass (38-21) all night long. We shot a great percentage from the field (26-49 – 53.1 percent), got to the free throw line a lot (22-30 – 73.3 percent), just a lot of good things here tonight.”

Versailles set the tone for the night bolting out to an 8-0 start getting on two AJ Griesdorn baskets, an Ethan Wilker bucket, and a Carson Heitkamp basket, all coming in the paint at the rim. The teams closed out first-quarter play with Versailles taking the period 16-13 led by eight Griesdorn points.

Drake Ahrens drives to the basket for Versailles in District Championship win over Cincinnati Gamble. (Gaylen Blosser photo)

The Gators battled back early in the second stanza to knot the score at 18-18 and take a 21-20 lead at 5:28 on the clock, a lead that would prove to be Gamble’s lone lead of the night good for just 31 total seconds of the entire contest. A Drake Ahrens free throw tied the score at 21-21 as the Tigers would use a 15-5 run to close out the first half sending the teams to the break with Versailles holding a double-digit 36-26 advantage.

Ahrens paced Versailles with 10 second-quarter points, Heitkamp added 6 points and Jace Watren was good for 4 points as the Tigers would take the second period 20-13.

Gamble cut it to a 7-point 44-37 Versailles lead at 2:40 in the third before the Tigers would close out the quarter with 10 unanswered points to lead 54-37 with three periods in the book led by 10 Watren points.

Jace Watren scores for Versailles in District Championship win over Gamble Montessori. (Gaylen Blosser photo)

“We changed up our defense in the middle and went to a diamond and one,” Swank noted, “frustrated them for a long period of time.”

Versailles put the game away in the fourth taking advantage of a 15-0 scoring run.  A Watren layup at 3:59 gave the Tigers their largest lead of the night, a 23-point 65-42 advantage on the team’s way to a convincing 19-point district title win.

“You can’t go into a district game fearful so we got a lot of easy ones because we knew they were going to be coming at us,” said Coach Swank, “but we were able to score on the back end of it so that was good for us.”

Versailles won the battle of the boards led by 22 Carson Heitkamp rebounds giving the Tigers’ senior a double-double on the night knocking down 17 points.

Carson Heitkamp scores for the Versailles Tigers in OHSAA District Championship win over Cincinnati Gamble Montessori. (Gaylen Blosser photo)

“Carson played like a man all night long on the glass and did a tremendous job scoring for us too,” Swank said.

The Gators sharpshooting Ta’Ron Patterson led Gamble Montessori and all scorers with a game-high 30 points. Versailles got balanced scoring led by 21 Watren points.

BOXSCORE:

VERSAILLES – J. Watren 21, AJ Griesdorn 16, C. Heitkamp 17, D. Ahrens 14, E. Wilker 6 – TOTALS 26 22-30 0

GAMBLE MONTESSORI – T. Patterson 30, D. Saunders 10, D. Carr-Short 8, D. Brookins 5, J. Houston 2 – TOTALS 13 8-4 7 55

3-POINTERS

Versailles 0

Gamble Montessori 7 (T. Patterson 5, D. Saunders 2)

SCORE by QUARTERS

16-20-18-20 74 Versailles

13-13-11-18 55 Gamble Montessori