Vermillion boys finish first basketball season A group of fourth- and fifth-grade Vermillion boys ended its first full basketball season with a first place finish at Elk Point's Edgars Tournament Feb. 25 and 26 and a second place finish at the Sioux Falls YMCA Tri-State Tournament held March 3 and 4. Former Coyote standout Joey James has been coaching the boys since last December and finished with a record of 16 wins and 11 losses.
Vermillion started the Elk Point tournament with wins over Canton (32-20) on Friday night, Feb. 25, and Beresford (34-15) on Saturday morning to advance into the championship game Saturday afternoon against the home team, Elk Point. The final game was a battle with Elk Point keeping a 1 to 2 point lead for most of the game. With four seconds left in the game and Vermillion down by 1 point, Jeff Donnelly started from the half court line, drove to the basket, and put in a floater to win the game, 21-20, as time expired!
The boys' first game the next weekend in Sioux Falls was against a team from Dell Rapids. After getting off to a slow start and enduring some foul trouble, the boys posted a 36-24 win. Their next opponent on Saturday morning was a seasoned team from Spirit Lake, IA. The Vermillion boys got off to a slow start and found themselves down by 15 points midway through the third quarter. With some tough defense and solid 3-point shooting by Ryan Powell, they managed to pull within 5 points with under two minutes to play.
A.J. Manning pulled the boys to within 2 after a 3-point play with just over a minute to play and then Jeff Donnelly tied the score with 2 of his 10 fourth quarter points. Manning then put Vermillion ahead by 2 points with 20 seconds left in the game, scoring 7 of Vermillion's last 9 points to finish the game with 9 points. They played a tough man-to-man defense to finish with a 2 point 51-49 victory that sent them to the finals.
Powell led all the scorers with 16 points including four 3-pointers. Donnelly tallied 13 points while Jordan Boots had 7. Broc Gauer rounded out the scoring with 6 points. Paul Hammond, Seth Snoozy, Ryan Gilbertson, and Zak Weiss provided much needed bench support as Vermillion ran into some foul trouble.
Saturday afternoon in the championship game, they faced a bigger team from Alta, IA. Vermillion's all out effort in the previous game showed and while the boys were able to keep it close for much of the game, Alta's size proved to be the deciding factor. Vermillion took runner-up honors in a 45-29 loss.
The boys would like to thank Coach Joey James for his time and dedication these past months. They also thank Pump 'n Pak and The Walking Billboard for their support throughout the season.