VHS Tanager Ruminations By Jim Prosser Let's continue the Tanager 1976-77 basketball season with the "West River" weekend double-header.
Vermillion High School defeated the Winner Warriors 85-58, but lost the services of reserve center Kevin Iverson who re-injured a shoulder separation while warming up for the game. He would be on the disabled list for about a month.
After sleeping in unfamiliar surroundings and spending the day in Mission, the team played an uninspired three quarters and were trailing the Todd County Falcons before they came alive and with a late surge were able to overcome the home team 48-38 with defense being the main contributor to the victory!
Blaze Okerlund led the team
with 13 points and 14 rebounds. Scott Wagner scored 12.
Game #7 was played at the Sioux Falls Lincoln Patriot gym where the Tanagers enjoyed their first-ever win there. The visitors out-rebounded the home team and free throws were an important part of the 61-51 win.
Okerlund again led the scoring with 20 points, including 8 for 8 from the charity line. Also scoring six free throws each were Steve Renner and Doug Martin, while Wagner had 13 points and Barry Baker scored 9 points.
The team got a breather in game #8 as they opened the first quarter with 18 points and shot a respectable 50 percent from the field for the game which left the Lennox Orioles with a 59-34 defeat with just about every team member having a stint on the floor. Reserve sophomore Kevin Seibel was high-point man with 12.
(Incidentally, Seibel became an outstanding kicker in football and eventually kicked field goals and extra points for the Nebraska Cornhuskers).
Game #9 against the Brookings Bobcats was a severe test for the Tanager defense and Renner and Martin combined to hold their leading scorer to 1 point. Scott Wagner led the team in scoring with 19 points and Steve Renner had 8 (all free throws). The final score was 57-47 in favor of the Tanagers.
Midway through the regular season, Okerlund and Wagner each had scored 100 points (11.1 average). The South Dakota sportswriters ranked the Tanagers #2 � behind undefeated Aberdeen Central at #1 and KCAU-TV placed VHS behind #1 Rock Valley, IA in their all-area basketball weekly ratings.
The next article will probably cover the next five games in the winning streak.