SPRINGFIELD — It was the rarest of events Wednesday at Springfield High School.
A loss by the Versailles girls basketball team on the Springfield floor.
The Tigers had a 14-1 record in their previous 15 games on the floor —- but a scrappy, determined Waynesville team was too much for Versailles in a 55-45 loss in Division III regional semifinal action.
Versailles closed the season at 21-6, while Waynesville improved to 25-0.
“We don’t take anything for granted,” Versailles coach Jacki Stonebraker said about the Tigers success in the gym. “It is not like we took Waynesville for granted. They have girls that can score at every position. We knew this was going to be a tough game.”
And despite trailing 30-17 at halftime, Versailles came back to take the lead 39-38 on a Lindsey Winner three to open the fourth quarter. It was the sixth straight shot made by Winner, who led the Tigers back with 11 points in the third quarter without missing a shot.
“Lindsey (Winner) had a phenomenal second half,” Stonebraker said. “She had a phenomenal third quarter.”
At the same time, Versailles forced Waynesville into 3-of-10 shooting from the floor after the Spartans had a white-hot second quarter.
“I was so proud of our pressure in the third quarter,” Stonebraker said. “And we got them to rush some shots.”
At the same time, Stonebraker was concerned about the fourth quarter.
“Would we have enough left to catch them?,” she said. “If we took the lead, could we hold it?”
That proved prophetic as Waynesville made all five of its shots in the fourth quarter and pulled away late.
“They started double-teaming Lindsey (Winner),” Stonebraker said. “And they were able to get to basket. That was one of our concerns coming in. How well they shoot the ball.”
Versailles had jumped out to a quick 6-2 lead in the opening quarter, forcing a Waynesville timeout. The Spartnas led 12-11 after one quarter, before Versailles went through one of those stretches they had struggled with all season.
“We had one of our stretches (where they don’t score for three minutes),” Stonebraker said.
And it proved fatal.
While Waynesville made seven of eight shots in the second quarter, Versailles made just two of eight. The Spartans outscored the Tigers 18-6 in the quarter to open a 30-17 lead.
“We just couldn’t do enough in the second quarter to stay close enough,” Stonebraker said.
Winner finished with 19 points and six rebounds, while Liz Ording had 15 points and five rebounds in her final game for the Tigers. Caitlin McEldowney added seven points.
Rachel Murray had 17 points for Waynesville, while Leah Butterbaugh scored 11 points off the bench. Marcella Sizer scored 10 points and had seven reboounds, while Kenzie Purkey scored eight points and Lynzie Hartshorn added seven.
Versailles was 16-of-39 from the floor for 41 percent and 11-of-16 from the line for 69 percent. Waynesville was 20-of-34 from the floor for 59 percent and 12-of-15 from the line for 80 percent.
It was final game for Versailles seniors Ording, Kelsey Custenborder, Liz Watren, Caitlyn Luthman, Savannah Toner and Rachel Lyons.
“They gave us a great leadership all season,” Stonebraker said. “And they are all going to be successful in whatever they do in life.”
And you can expect the Tigers to come back to Springfield next year looking for more success.
“I told them after the game, this is going to hurt,” Stonebraker said. “You are going to remember this, but don’t dwell on it.”
Because when it comes to Versailles in big games, the wins far outweigh the losses.