Things may not have gone exactly perfectly Monday night when Eldon visited its Highway 52 neighbor Versailles, but good is not a bad alternative as the Mustangs defeated the Tigers 73-47.

There is an old adage that says practice makes perfect.

Things may not have gone exactly perfectly Monday night when Eldon visited its Highway 52 neighbor Versailles, but good is not a bad alternative as the Mustangs defeated the Tigers 73-47.

“This past week in practice we’ve just been talking about playing to our strong suits, working on being disciplined and all the things we haven’t been previously this season so we are working on it,” Eldon coach Ashley Agee said with her team playing a single game in 11 days due to the cancellation of a tournament. “Tonight I thought it would be a good game to do those kind of things and seeing if we can do different things. We had people coming off the bench doing nice things and I think we got the roll tonight on some of our shots so we won’t always be that lucky, but I think we did a nice job and it was a good team win.”

Eldon jumped out to a solid start and built a 50-23 lead by halftime. Whether it was hitting outside shots or finding lanes to drive to the basket, the Mustangs were consistent in finding a way to put the ball through the hoop.

"In practice we’ve worked really hard on getting each other open, looking for each other and communicating,” Eldon junior Taylor Henderson said of the offense. “Practices have been super intense so we’ve really worked hard looking for each other and are always there for each other.”

The numbers certainly suggest so as nine different Mustangs scored at least one bucket. Eldon senior Kayleigh Fike led the way with 19 points while Henderson knocked down 18, sophomore Gracie Petet turned in eight, junior Elizabeth Rush finished with seven, both freshmen Haley Henderson and senior Kelsey Wallis had six and freshman MaKenna Imler had five.

“I think they are starting to see and understand some things and play with each other a little bit,” Agee noted.

And when one team is putting together a fairly balanced attack, it generally spells trouble for the other side. Versailles started off in zone defense and switched to man to try and slow things down.

“We did not do a very good job moving our feet so we got in foul trouble early. Then, we did not rotate to spots so they got some easy baskets inside,” Versailles coach Tim Spiers noted. “We were bigger but it did not matter because they got the spot before we did so they negated our size with their speed. I thought they made open shots and we did not move to cover and take away open shots like I wanted to.

“It was a case where their kids did a lot of good things and we did not react very well to counteract it.”

On the offensive side, Versailles freshman Sandalyn Morris fueled the Tigers with 16 points as she sought to go to work inside the paint with her 5-foot-10 frame. Both senior Adaya Comer and sophomore Joscelynn Marriott finished with six points each and both junior Savanah Zambrana and Maris Ollison added five points for the Tigers.

Spiers noted that Eldon was able to double and triple team the scoring threat inside for Versailles and he commended Morris for battling against the pressure. The coach said there have been nights recently where two or three players reach double figures and it just did not happen Monday night as the team got down early.

“Somebody has to make shots and tonight we did not do it. We got a lot of open looks and just did not do much with them,” he remarked, noting how important it was to maintain effort and intensity, no matter the situation. “When your leading scorer is in the post, everybody is going to sag in and make someone else prove they can make shots.”

Eldon, which usually plays zone due to having a size and depth disadvantage, started the game out with man defense and Agee was pleased overall with what she saw on the floor.

“I thought we did an ok job on her,” Agee said of stopping Morris. “We made some adjustments and she did a nice job knocking down some shots, which we should have caught onto a little bit sooner than we did. But we made the adjustments and I thought we did well. In the first half we did not box out very well and had to clean that up, which we did better in the second half.”

Versailles (5-13, 0-3 Tri-County Conference) was scheduled to visit St. Paul Lutheran in Concordia on Tuesday before hosting Osage on Thursday with junior varsity starting at 6 p.m. Moving forward, Spiers said the message is simply to keep the heads up and keep playing hard. “We are in better shape than we were last year. We’ve beat some teams and have played close in some other games,” he noted. “Our conference is very tough and it is a tough place to try to play so when we get conference games, our margin of error is very small. Tonight, we did not do a very good job of staying ahead of our mistakes. Got a game against St. Paul and hopefully we come out with a better effort and get a ‘W.’”

Eldon (6-9, 1-2 Tri-County Conference) visits Richland on Thursday with junior varsity starting at 6 p.m. Agee just wants her team to keep grinding.

“Just getting better and grinding it out knowing our district is just as tough as our competition,” she said of the road ahead. “We have to step up and be able to handle it.”

Henderson just may be up for that challenge.

“Intense practices, coming in focused every day, working as hard as we can and just making it the best we can,” the junior said of what the team needs to do. “Focusing on every team and buckling down.”