Clayton, Ohio — Versailles head coach Travis Swank is no stranger to postseason success. After graduating a pair of division one talents in Justin and Kyle Ahrens, Swank has still achieved success at this small town program. Following a 12-10 regular season in 2019, Versailles made a deep run to the regional semi-final before falling to the final four bound Purcell Marian Cavaliers.
Then Versailles didn’t lose a basketball game until February 1st last season as Michael Stammen and their loaded senior class had a historically successful season. The Tigers eventually fell in the district title game to a hot shooting CHCA team to end their year.
Losing all of the talent that they did, Versailles’ expectations coming into this season weren’t too high. Swank and the Tigers finished with a 8-14 record behind junior Jaydon Litten who averaged 14 points a game. Coming into this matchup against second year Arcanum head coach and former Versailles principal Roger McEldowney, the Tigers looked to extend their current win streak to three games.
Arcanum jumped out to the early 8-2 lead to start the game as Jake Goubeaux hit the corner three and Ian Baker converted on the and-one. Jaydon Litten and the Tigers clawed back as Litten converted on an and-one as well. He then made arguagbly the most exciting play of the game as he threw down a dunk to make it just a 10-9 game. The Trojans lead 11-9 at the end of the quarter following a missed three by Litten at the buzzer.
Eli McEldowney found big man Connor Stonebraker on the fast break to tie the game. Litten then gave the Tigers their first lead with a deep three. The Trojans would take a 21-19 halftime lead following six late first half points from Ian Baker.
Connor Stonebraker got the second half started off with a transition layup to tie the game. Stonebraker then nailed a mid range jumper, but Versailles still trailed 25-24 at the end of the third.
After a nice feed from Goubeaux to Baker, the Trojans extended their lead to 27-24. Then Versailles made a run to save their season. Troy Jones threw the pass up ahead to Litten to cut the deficit to one. Then Eli McEldowney hit a tough up-and-under layup to give Versailles back the lead with 4 minutes remaining.
After a couple of defensive stops, Litten fed the ball out to Stonebraker who immediately gave it to Troy Jones in the corner and the senior hit a huge shot to give Versailles a 31-27 lead with just 3:50 remaining. A layup from Jared DeMange would extend their lead to 33-27.
Arcanum was then forced to foul the rest of the way with limited time remaining. Jake Goubeaux continued to hit tough shot after tough shot but some late free-throws from Jaydon Litten and Connor Stonebraker sealed the 42-34 win for Versailles.
The Tigers will advance to the sectional semifinal next Tuesday at 5 PM at Northmont. They will face Dayton Christian which is a team they should matchup pretty evenly with. The game will be won in the matchup between Devin Drier and Jaydon Litten. Both play pretty similarly and it should make for an exciting contest.
Jaydon Litten (Versailles/G/2022): Jaydon Litten is a name not very well known outside of Darke county, but he is a player I expect to have a breakout season next year. With a lot of talent leaving the MAC next year, Litten and the Tigers have the potential to make a run for another MAC title. Litten is a talented guard who possesses a quick shot and good driving ability in transition.
Jake Goubeaux (Arcanum/G/2022): Goubeaux is a guard that finished on the all CCC first team and was impressive on Thursday night as well. Jake posses a nice shot along with the ability to finish with contact at the rim despite his 6’1″ frame. He should be the leader of this Arcanum team again next season and will be fun to watch with his ability to knock down tough shots.
Connor Stonebraker (Versailles/F/2023): It’s hard to believe a player like Stonebraker started the year on JV. Ever since being called up, he’s excelled. Stonebraker has good passing vision for a big and can finish at the rim pretty well, while also having a good mid range shot.