CLAYTON — Versailles took advantage of an Evan Hiestand tip-in with 3.6 seconds in overtime to defeat Brookville 48-46 in a Division III sectional final on Saturday at Northmont’s Thunderdome.
Brookville (21-4) was the Dayton Div. III sectional’s No. 4 seed and was ranked No. 10 in the final state AP poll.
“They have 20 wins for a reason,” Versailles coach Travis Swank said. “They are senior led, they have a lot of guys that have played at the varsity level for several years — they have very good players. We’re just happy to get out of here with a win.”
Brookville hit a four-foot running baseline floater with 10 seconds left in the fourth quarter to send the game to overtime tied 44-44.
Austin Toner hit the back-end of two free throws to put Versailles up 45-44 but Brookville scored shortly after to take a 46-45 lead.
Michael Stammen hit the second of two Versailles free throws to knot the game at 46-46 with 1:02 on the overtime clock. Brookville was unable to score after working the clock down, and Hiestand tipped in a missed shot with 3.6 seconds left to give Versailles a 48-46 lead, bringing a timeout from the Brookville bench.
Swank immediately called timeout following the Blue Devils’ break. Brookville attempted to go the length of the court in under four seconds and came up short as a well-designed Versailles defense kept Brookville from getting a good last second shot off.
“Barnburner,” Swank said. “They hit a tough shot there in the regulation. I was hoping they weren’t going to turn the trick twice on us. …Our kids battled back all year long from a lot of different things. We’re not the prettiest team out there but we sure have a lot of grit and determination we put out there on the floor every night.”
Hiestand, a senior guard, led all scorers with a game-high 24 points.
“I’m glad he got those 24 because 22 wouldn’t have been enough for us,” Swank said. “He played his tail off — he doesn’t want his season to end. He’s not the vocal leader that you would think of a senior but he works his tail off in practice. The guys just gravitate towards him because he plays so hard not only in practice but games too and when you have leadership like that, sometimes it’s just as good as being a vocal leader.”
Versailles (14-10) advances to a district final for a third consecutive season. The Tigers, which were the sectional’s No. 7 seed, will face Cincinnati Reading (18-6) at 1 p.m. on Sunday at UD Arena.
“We expect ourselves to be there,” Swank said of advancing to districts for a third-straight year. “You can say what you want — a lot of people didn’t expect us to be very good this year. Maybe that’s a chip that we hold on our shoulder right now as a team.
“We’ve lost a lot of good talent (including Ohio State freshman Justin Ahrens) … so I don’t think a lot of people gave us chances to be at this point and time but it doesn’t matter when every single one of our guys in the locker room, coaches and managers believe in themselves and believe in what we’re doing and you can get there then.”
Brookville moved out to a 26-22 third-quarter lead before Hiestand scored five unanswered points to give the Tigers a 27-26 advantage.
The Blue Devils used a 5-0 run of their own to go back on top 31-27 only to have Versailles close out third period with a driving layup and a pair of free throws by Stammen to tie it 31-31.
Stammen buried a 3-pointer from the top of the key to give Versailles a 34-31 lead at 7:24 left in the fourth followed by a Brookville basket and 3-pointer to give the Blue Devils a 36-34 advantage.
Connor VanSkyock drilled a Tigers 3-pointer to put Versailles back on top 37-36 and Hiestand scored in the paint to increase the lead to three points.
A Brookville goal had Versailles lead down to one with 3:56 left. Hiestand made a put-back with 2:39 left to give the Tigers a 41-38 advantage with 2:39 remaining.
A Brookville two-point goal had the Tigers lead down to one at 41-40. Stammen hit two free throws to put Versailles back up by three at 43-40 and a Blue Devils layup had the Tigers lead down to 43-42 with 43-seconds on the clock.
Stammen hit the front end of two free throws to push the Tigers lead to 44-42 at 0:39 only to have Brookville force overtime.
The teams traded points early, and Versailles led 11-10 at the end of the first quarter.
Stammen hit a layup and Ryan Martin hit a 3-pointer to give Versailles an 18-12 lead with 6:09 left in the second but the Blue Devils battled back with a 9-0 run to lead 21-18. Hiestand made a tip-in to make it 21-20 before a Brookville 3 gave the Blue Devils a 24-20 lead with 42 seconds left on the first-half clock.
A Hiestand reverse layup with nine seconds remaining sent the teams to the break with Brookville holding a 24-22 advantage.