Kyle Ahrens of Versailles took his considerable basketball game to Michigan State University. But his impact on the Tigers’ program remains intact. Justin Ahrens, Kyle’s sophomore brother, taps into his older sibling every day.
“It’s great to see (Kyle) moving on,” Justin said of his brother, a freshman on the MSU men’s basketball team “He’s really taught me a lot about the game. We’re seeing double-teams and box-and-ones all year and he’s really taught me what to do and how to handle situations best. If my shots aren’t falling, I set my teammates up. That’s what gets you wins. That’s all we want, wins and to keep going in the tournament.”
Kyle Ahrens was among the state’s scoring leaders last season at 30 points per game. His graduation opened plenty of shooting space for Justin. The 6-foot-5 sophomore left-hander was a starter last season and has followed up with a breakout season, averaging 22.6 points.
Ahrens went for a game-high 21 points on Wednesday night as Versailles defeated Greeneview 68-49 in a boys high school basketball Division III sectional second-round matchup at Belmont. Versailles (18-6) will play Miami East (20-4) at 5 p.m. Saturday in a sectional final at Northmont.
Versailles upgraded its non-league schedule, losing at Dunbar and to Chaminade Julienne and Lima Central Catholic. But that high-end experience helped the Tigers win the rugged Midwestern Athletic Conference.
“A lot of times we wouldn’t see that kind of quickness until we played the tournament,” Versailles coach Scott McEldowney said. “If you think you can go compete, who cares what your record is? For a young group of kids, they’ve really grown up against some good competition.”
Austin Knapke hit four 3-pointers and added 16 points for Versailles. Alex Wendel had 10 points. Greeneview (7-16) was paced by Ethan Bradds’ 17 points (and three 3s).
“The regular season is really the time to build up and get ready for the (postseason),” said Justin Ahrens, whose twin brother A.J. Ahrens also is a starter and whose father Kevin Ahrens is an assistant coach. “That’s why you want to play the best competition possible. Win or lose, you’ve got to build off of those games and get ready for the tournament, because that’s the big time of the (season).”
Miami East 47, Brookville 25: The Blue Devils held the ball the opening three minutes until the Vikings converted a steal into a layup. That forced Brookville to abandon its stall and the rout was on in the nightcap at Belmont. East held Brookville scoreless in the first quarter and led 20-0.
Damien Mackesy had 17 points, Ryan Haney 11 and Logan West 10 for East, which beat Brookville in a sectional final last season. Dalton Stewart led Brookville with 10 points. The Blue Devils (12-12) were 10-1 in non-league games and 2-10 in Southwestern Buckeye League play, losing seven games by three points or less.