Tanagers crowned district champs after defeating Elk Point-Jefferson by Jim Prosser The Vermillion Tanagers defeated the Elk Point-Jefferson Huskies 44-40 in girls' basketball Nov. 1 at Alcester in the championship game of the District 8A Girls' Basketball Tournament.
Ashley Bjorkman scored 18 points.
"Ashley had a big third period with a couple of 3-pointers," said Vermillion varsity coach Lance Luitjens.
The Tanagers jumped ahead 12-8 after the opening period, led 19-18 at halftime, and then held a lead of 38-28 going into the fourth quarter.
"This was a huge win for us," said coach Luitjens. "We knew it would be a battle from start to finish. Both teams are so even, we just made a few more free throws which proved to be the difference.
"I tip my hat to the Elk Point girls and their coaching staff," he said. "Coach Fletcher has done a great job with those girls over the years and they are definitely a class act."
The Vermillion varsity improved its season mark to 15-5.
The Vermillion varsity made 4 of 9 three-point tries and hit 8 of 11 free throw tries. The Tanagers made 16 of 33 field goals, while Elk Point-Jefferson was 16 of 39 from the field. Elk Point-Jefferson made 4 of 15 three-point tries and hit 4 of 8 free throw tries.
The winners needed good efforts from several performers.
"Our spark was provided by a couple of veterans and a rookie last Thursday (Nov. 1)," coach Luitjens said. "Meggie Donnelly got us going in the first half and handled the ball well. And then Jackie Thomas helped us close the game hitting three huge free throws in the last minute of the game. Jackie wouldn't have been able to hit her last two had it not been for a clutch rebound by Abby Moore off a missed free throw. Abby stepped it up for us defensively in the second half."
Individual Stats, Vermillion varsity: Scoring � Ashley Bjorkman, 18, Meggie Donnelly, 8, Jackie Thomas, 7, Tessa Tuetken, 5, Abby Moore, 4, Carey Engstrom, 2. Rebounds � Donnelly, 6, Moore, 5. Assists � Tuetken, 3. Steals � Tuetken, 3.
Individual Stats, Elk Point-Jefferson: Scoring � Emily Kyte, 15, Sara Patnode, 12, Abby Lee, 5, Leslie Nebelsick, 4, Mendy Rosenbaum, 4. Rebounds � Patnode, 4, Rosenbaum, 3. Assists � Nebelsick, 3. Steals � Lee, 3.
Team rebounds: Vermillion varsity � 24, Elk Point-Jefferson � 20. Team fouls: Vermillion varsity � 11, Elk Point-Jefferson � 16.