Tanagers fall by 2 in region tourney by Jim Prosser The Vermillion Tanagers dropped a close decision to the Harrisburg Tigers 46-44 in boys� basketball March 6 at Elmen Center in Sioux Falls in the championship game of the Region 4A Tournament.
In a basketball game that featured a scoring difference of no more than two baskets at every stop for the entire competition, the Tanagers were ambushed by an unexpected 4-point play by Harrisburg�s Chris Koopman, which proved to be the key for the Tiger�s 46-44 victory in the Region 4A championship played Tuesday, March 6 in the Elmen Center at Sioux Falls.
The clutch play came with 1:39 on the clock and the score tied 37-37. While there was a lot more action in the remaining seconds to the final horn, Vermillion couldn�t overcome that 4-point advantage.
Coach Troy Terronez gave credit to Koopman�s effort.
�We actually played solid defense on that shot,� he said. �My hat�s off to him. There aren�t many high school kids who can make that jab-step back and knock down a ?3�.�
After the play, sophomore Nick Olson cut the lead to 2 with a rebound putback shot with 1:05 left in the game and the Tanagers got the ball back twice more with a chance to tie, but the front-end of one-and-one free throws were missed.
After Harrisburg�s Chris Visser made two free throws, Brett Hogen was fouled on a lay-up basket and made the free throw to close the margin to 2 points with 5.5 seconds left.
Harrisburg�s Aaron Wurgler was immediately fouled and calmly made both shots at 4.8 seconds and, after a time out, Olson threw the ball, court length, to Bo Nelson who dunked the ball as time ran out on the Tanagers� hopes for a trip to the State A.
The loss dropped Vermillion varsity to a record of 13-7, while Harrisburg improved to 14-8.
The Vermillion varsity lost the game from the free throw line, making three of seven charity tosses compared with 12 of 18 for Harrisburg. The contest was well-played, with the Tanagers committing only eight turnovers and the Tigers committing only seven.
The Tanagers fell behind 10-9 after the opening period, trailed 22-19 at halftime, and then trailed 30-26 going into the final period.
The Vermillion varsity hit three of 15 3-point attempts. The Tanagers sank 16 of 32 from the field, while Harrisburg was 11 of 27 from the field. Harrisburg connected on four of 11 3-point tries.
Regarding the missed shots from the charity line, Coach Terronez said, �We missed two front-ends of the one-and-one, but I don�t know if I would have made those under the circumstances. The atmosphere was intense and there was extreme pressure on the players.�
The statistics of the game were a reflection of the closeness throughout the conflict.
Individual Stats, Vermillion varsity: Scoring � Bo Nelson, 17, Jeremi Cowman, 7, Brett Hogen, 7, Paul Tims, 5, Tim Russell, 4, Nick Olson, 4. Rebounds � Nelson, 5, Tims, 4, Cowman, 4. Steals � Hogen, 3.
Individual Stats, Harrisburg: Scoring � Chris Visser, 16, Matt DeGeest, 9, Chris Koopman, 8, Aaron Wurgler, 8, Paul Doehen, 3, Jim Holm, 2. Rebounds � DeGeest, 7, Holm, 6. Steals � Wurgler, 3.
Team rebounds: Vermillion varsity � 24, Harrisburg � 23. Team fouls: Vermillion varsity � 16, Harrisburg � 12.