COVINGTON — Despite the fact the Versailles — the Division III AP state poll champions — were facing 19th seed Dixie — or maybe because of it — Tigers coach Jacki Stonebraker had a message for her team before the game.
“We have lost in the first round before when we should have won — and we never got to go on,” Stonebraker said. “I talked to the girls about that before the game, that you don’t want to be that team.”
It took Kami McEldowney just five seconds to score off the opening jump and the Lady Tigers never trailed in a 76-32 victory in the opening round of the Covington D-III sectional.
Versailles (22-1) advances to play No. 20 seed Northridge (2-19) at 6 p.m. on Tuesday. Dixie closes the season at 2-21.
“The girls came out and did a good job,” Stonebraker said.
Dixie had a little success offensively in the first quarter. Cyndie Stone got behind the Versailles press for three baskets and McKinlee Ruppert scored five.
But, they were no match for the Tigers offense.
McEldowney had 10 points in the opening quarter and Danielle Winner added six as Versailles took a 24-11 lead.
The Hounds made just one field each in the second and third quarters as Versailles increased the margin to 48-17 and 65-20.
McEldowney brought the crowd to its feet in the second quarter with a behind-the-back pass to her sister Caitlin for a layup.
“We came out in a different press,” Stonebraker said. “We were trying to take Dixie out of system and what we ended up doing is taking ourselves out of system I think. We went back to the man press in the second quarter and did a good job. But, we have to be able to transform from one to the other.”
Almost the entire second half was played with the new running clock rule, which kicks in when a team’s lead reaches 35 points in the second half.
“I have mixed feelings about it,” Stonebraker said. “It makes it difficult to make substitutions and get them quality time. But, it is fine.”
Winner led Versailles with a double-double with 22 points and 10 rebounds, while McEldowney added 19 points and Hailey McEldowney scored eight.
Ruppert led Dixie with 17 points, while Sydney Creamer grabbed eight rebounds.
Versailles was 30-of-59 from the floor for 51 percent and 10-of-17 from the line for 59 percent. Dixie was 10-of-27 from the floor for 37 percent and 8-of-9 from the line for 89 percent.
Versailles owned the boards 27-12 and had four turnovers to Dixie’s 19.
“It is always good to get the first one out of the way,” Stonebraker said.
And not be “that” team.