Vermillion crowned district champions after overtime battle by Jim Prosser The Vermillion Tanagers defeated the Dakota Valley Panthers 62-58 in an overtime battle in boys� basketball March 3 at Elmen Center in Sioux Falls in the championship game of the District 8A Tournament.
The score was tied 54-54 after regulation.
One can expect that a team, loaded with seniors, to demonstrate poise at �crunch-time.�
So when the Vermillion Tanagers, led by starting four seniors Jeremi Cowman, Brett Hogen, Bo Nelson, and Tim Russell and junior Paul Tims, created a 14-point lead at half-time in the District 8A championship game, it appeared that the game would be a runaway. Not so!
The Dakota Valley Panthers came out with fire in their eyes and a smothering one-three-one trapping defense which ate up that lead and brought the two teams even at 34 to open the fourth quarter.
The score see-sawed for most of the quarter, but DV took a 6- point lead with less than two minutes to play.
A pair of sophomore reserves showed that pressure can be overcome by younger members of the team. Jon Brooks made two 3-point baskets in the fourth quarter. He sank the second 3-point shot with 1:15 on the clock to make the score 51 -50 for the Panthers.
Following two free throws by DV�s J. J. Nelson, Nick Olson fired up a shot from beyond the top of the free-throw circle to tie the score, and a desperation missed shot by J.J. Nelson who was closely covered by the Tanagers� Bo Nelson, left the score tied at 54-54.
Having performed their histrionics, they left the over-time scoring to the starting four seniors, and each of them contributed 2 points to clinch the 62-58 championship victory.
�It�s not uncommon to see Jon Brooks come off the bench and set the offense by directing the positions that will make the most successful plays work,� said Coach Troy Terronez, �or to see Nick Olson come in and knock down a shot from the free-throw line. But they�re the type of players that can also hit the 3, and they demonstrated that last Saturday afternoon.�
Offensively, the Tanagers were led by Cowman, Brooks, Nelson and Olson.
�Balanced scoring and determination paid off in this game,� said Coach Terronez. �These five boys led the way and hit the big shots down the stretch.�
The Tanagers jumped ahead 9-7 after the opening period, led 28-14 at halftime, and the score was knotted 34-34 going into the fourth quarter.
The Tanagers heated things up from 3-point range, hitting 9 of 17 from long distance.
�We played hard defensively for the entire game, but Dakota Valley hit some tough shots,� said Coach Terronez. �In the second half, we got passive on the offensive end. As we started to attack the seams of the zone, the boys started to score again.�
The Vermillion varsity improved its season mark to 12-6, while Dakota Valley fell to 14-7.
The Vermillion varsity made 13 of 14 from the line. The Tanagers sank 11 of 31 field goals, while Dakota Valley was 13 of 29 from the field. The Panthers made 11 of 21 free throw tries.
The close win had several contributors to the cause.
�Bo played some good defense after Nick�s shot for the tie,� Coach Terronez said. �There were still 26 seconds left on the clock and we knew J.J. Nelson would try to penetrate. Bo took the challenge and forced a tough shot to finish the regulation.�
Individual Stats, Vermillion varsity: Scoring � Tim Cowman, 14, Bo Nelson, 13, Nick Olson, 11, Jon Brooks, 8, Paul Tims, 6, Tim Russell, 6, Brett Hogen, 2. Rebounds � Nelson 9, Olson, 7. Assists � Cowman, 6. Steals � Tims, 3.
Individual Stats, Dakota Valley: Scoring � J.J. Nelson, 19, Dustin Hovorka, 13, Tony Bracht, 11, Ben Blaeser, 10, Blake Merkve, 9. Rebounds � Nelson, 11. Assists � Bracht, 5.
Team rebounds: Vermillion varsity � 25, Dakota Valley � 23. Team fouls: Vermillion varsity � 23, Dakota Valley � 15.