COLDWATER, OH – After beginning the season with 16 wins in the first 17 games the Versailles Tigers were rolling along but were saddled recently with three losses by a combined 12 points heading into Friday night’s MAC tilt at Coldwater where they emerged victorious 67-64.
“Everyone has been playing us with a box and one defense, we finally had a week to prepare for it and figured out how to shoot against it,” said Versailles coach Travis Swank on his teams approach to Coldwater’s defensive scheme to shut down his star senior and future Ohio State Buckeye Justin Aherns.
While Aherns was held to under half of his per game average of 26 points per game with 12, it was fellow senior Keaton McEldowney who had a big night as he sliced the Cavaliers defense for 15 of his game high 24 markers in the opening period.
Similar to the night Kami McEldowney recently had for the Versailles girls team, the 8.7 per game scorer connected on a trio of first quarter threes to put his team on top 20-18 at the first quarter break.
On the Coldwater side the night belonged to 6’2 junior Marcus Bruns who put in a pair from behind the arc early to help keep his team within striking distance of the Midwest Athletic Conference’s highest scoring club on the year.
With the game tied at 20-20 mid way through the second it was Aherns who would dent the scoreboard for the first time as he found the bottom of the net on a three pointer and then turned a score into a quick bucket to give Versailles a 25-20 advantage.
Cole Frilling finished the game with 15 points for the Cavaliers on the evening but it was his barrage of nine in the second stanza that helped pushed his crew to a 37-36 halftime lead.
Free throws and three pointers punctuated each teams many runs in the second half but it was the visiting Tigers who would strike last as they hit on 7 of 12 from the line to help secure their fourth straight win against the Cavs.
Similar to what he had done in the second period, Justin Aherns struck quickly as he stole a pass from Coldwater seconds after connecting on 1 of 2 from the charity stripe to re-energize his teams offense.
For the game the Tigers shot 10 of 19 from behind the arc and 13 of 20 from the line. The big story for the Cavaliers was their offensive rebounding as 10 of their 25 total snags came of the offensive variety and led to easy stick backs. From the line themselves the Cavs finished 13 of 16.
Versailles (17-4) moves to 7-2 on the season in the Midwest Athletic Conference and will wrap up their regular season on Saturday night when they host Greenville.
Nick Fisher and Coldwater fall to 10-10 overall and 3-5 in the MAC and will travel to Wapak on Saturday evening for a non-conference tilt with the Redskins to end their regular campaign.
Justin Aherns 12
Kyle Jones 5
Keaton McEldowney 24
Michael Stammen 8
Carter May 5
Noah Richard 2
Evan Hiestand 4
AJ Aherns 7
3PT: 10/19 (McEldowney 4, J. Aherns 2, May, A. Aherns, Stammen, Jones)
REB: 24 (A. Aherns 8)
Marcus Bruns 20
Cole Frilling 15
Sam Broering 6
Jacob Wenning 9
Mitch Balster 2
Myles Blasingame 1
Derek Albers 11
3PT: 7/17 (Bruns 3, Broering 2, Frilling, J. Wenning)
REB: 25 (D. Albers 11)
JV (OT): Versailles wins 59-58 on a on a Ryan Martin shot with 1.2 seconds left.