Fifth-grade girls capture consolation On Jan. 28-29, a team of fifth-grade girls sponsored by Stewart Oil & Tire captured the top consolation prize in the Eighth Annual Girls Tri-State Basketball Tournament.
In the first game, the girls faced a tough Sioux Falls team that participates in the Sioux Falls Advanced BB League. The game was a defensive struggle with Sioux Falls claiming a first quarter 2-0 lead. Vermillion fought back to a 4-4 tie at the half. When the third quarter ended Vermillion faced a 9-6 deficit. The girls battled hard in the fourth but couldn't overcome the deficit and the game ended in a 19-13 loss. (Sioux Falls went on to claim the section championship.) Scorers for Vermillion were Annie Roche, 5; Anna Isaacson, 4; Hannah Pommersheim, 2; and Kaili Johnson, 2. Top rebounders were Alicia Brown, 6; Ariel Hofman, 5; McKinsey Weydert, 4; Brittni Stewart, 4; and Pommersheim, 3.
After the heartbreaking first round loss the girls came back determined and focused on the top consolation prize. The second game found them facing a team from Pipestone, MN. The girls started strong on defense and took advantage of fastbreak scoring opportunities. The game ended in a 17-9 Vermillion win which vaulted them into the consolation championship game. Scorers in the Pipestone game were Roche, 9; Isaacson, 4; Hofman, 2; and Johnson, 2. Rebounders were Stewart, 5; Brown, 5; Weydert, 4; Pommersheim, 4; Hofman, 4; Roche, 3; and Isaacson, 3.
In the consolidation championship, Vermillion found themselves up against a very talented team from Brandon Valley. Once again concentrating on strong team defense and fastbreaks Vermillion broke out to a 6-4 lead at the first quarter break. The Vermillion girls extended their lead to 16-8 at the half. Working hard to put the game out of reach for Brandon Valley, the young Vermillion team pushed the lead to 23-8 after three quarters. Defense prevailed again for Vermillion in the fourth allowing just 2 points for the opponent in the final stanza. The team had a great defensive effort leading to many fastbreak points allowing Roche to knock down 19 points for the game, as Vermillion came away consolation champions with a 25-10 win. Rounding out the game scoring were Hofman, 4; and Brown, 2. Weydert and Pommersheim had five rebounds each, Isaacson, Johnson and Stewart four apiece and Brown and Hofman, three each.
The team is in its second season of playing together and continues to improve. Usually faced with a height disadvantage, the team relies on tenacious defense and team speed, which makes for an exciting group of girls to watch. The team is coached by Randy Isaacson, Frank Pommersheim, and Mike Roche.