Tanagers lose heartbreaker to Dell Rapids Lady Quarriers

Tanagers lose heartbreaker to Dell Rapids Lady Quarriers by Jim Prosser The Vermillion Tanagers were edged by the Dell Rapids Lady Quarriers 34-33 Nov. 15 at the Mitchell Corn Palace in the first round of the South Dakota 2001 State �A� girls� basketball tournament.

�This was a tale of two halves � the defensive half and the offensive half,� said Vermillion varsity coach Lance Luitjens. �Both teams struggled offensively. It was by far our worst shooting performance of the year. We shoot 46 percent as a team and against Dells we shot 29 percent.�

The Tanagers fell behind 14-9 at the end of the first period, trailed 26-23 at halftime, and the contest was deadlocked 31-31 going into the final period.

The loss dropped the Vermillion varsity to a record of 16-6, while Dell Rapids improved to 19-4.

The Vermillion varsity hit 2 of 7 three-pointers and hit 9 of 11 free throw attempts. The Tanagers connected on 11 of 37 field goals, while Dell Rapids was 11 of 37 from the field. Dell Rapids hit 2 of 9 three-point attempts and sank 10 of 16 from the line.

The Tanagers had several noteworthy individual efforts in defeat.

�Defensively, we really stepped it up,� Luitjens said. �We only allowed one field goal the whole second half holding Dell Rapids to eight points. Their two leading scorers, who contribute 26 points per game collectively, were held to just six. Unfortunately, we missed some good looks and just couldn�t get it done on the offensive end.

�I think Dell Rapids was probably the second best team in the tournament,� he said. �They only lost to Sisseton by four points. We had some golden opportunities late in the game but just came up one point short. Who knows what may have happened the next night had Thursday�s outcome been different.�

Individual Stats, Vermillion varsity: Scoring � Ashley Bjorkman, 11, Carey Engstrom, 6, Tessa Tuetken, 6, Meggie Donnelly, 4, Abby Moore, 4, Jackie Thomas, 2. Rebounds � Bjorkman, 5, Engstrom, 5. Assists � Donnelly, 3. Steals � Tuetken, 3.

Individual Stats, Dell Rapids: Scoring � Ashley Newman, 9, Stacy Licktieg, 7, Nicole Geraets, 6, Courtney Crisp, 5, Katie Hegge, 4, Sara Nelson, 3. Rebounds � Crisp, 13, Newman, 5, Hegge, 5. Steals � Geraets, 4.

Team rebounds: Vermillion varsity � 21, Dell Rapids � 29. Team fouls: Vermillion varsity � 15, Dell Rapids � 10.

Vermillion 60, Red Cloud 34

The Vermillion Tanagers shot down the Red Cloud Lady Crusaders 60-34 Nov. 16 in the second round game of the State �A� girls� basketball tournament, played in the Mitchell Corn Palace.

�I was really proud of how the girls bounced back from a difficult loss,� said Luitjens. �It could have been easy to have a let down, but we were ready to play. It was a really physical game. I was pleased at how the girls kept their composure even when things got a little too rough.�

The Tanagers jumped in front 13-4 after the opening period, went into the locker room up 27-13 at halftime, and then held a lead of 38-29 going into the final period.

The Vermillion varsity improved its season mark to 17-6, while Red Cloud fell to 9-15.

The Vermillion varsity hit 5 of 13 three-pointers and made 19 of 26 free throw tries. The Tanagers connected on 18 of 48 field goal attempts, while Red Cloud was 14 of 43 from the field. Red Cloud made 2 of 9 three-point tries and connected on 4 of 19 free throw attempts.

The Tanagers had some excellent individual efforts in the win.

�Again, we did the job defensively,� Luitjens said. �If you take into account the second half of the Dell Rapids game and the first quarter of the Red Cloud game, we only gave up one field goal over three quarters of basketball. That�s pretty impressive.

�Ashley Bjorkman and Meggie Donnelly finally found their range for us,� he said. �And freshman Melissa Olson showed promise for next year with her first double digit outing of her career.�

Individual Stats, Vermillion varsity: Scoring � Ashley Bjorkman, 18, Meggie Donnelly, 12, Melissa Olson, 10, Carey Engstrom, 6, Tessa Tuetken, 5, Jackie Thomas, 3, Abby Moore, 2, Allison Stewart, 2, Kayla Mollet, 1, Joelle Mulder, 1. Rebounds � Bjorkman, 9, Tuetken, 5, Engstrom, 5, Olson, 5. Assists � Donnelly, 5, Tuetken, 5. Steals � Thomas, 4, Donnelly, 3.

Individual Stats, Red Cloud: Scoring � Jennifer Morrisette, 17, Joni Morrisette, 11, Stacie Big Crow, 4, Brittany Clifford, 2. Rebounds � Joni M., 10, Jennie M., 7, Clifford, 7. Assists � Joni M., 5. Steals � Clifford, 3.

Team rebounds: Vermillion varsity � 37, Red Cloud � 32. Team fouls: Vermillion varsity � 16, Red Cloud � 24.

Vermillion 36, Madison 47

The Vermillion Tanagers watched a second-half lead fade away and were defeated by the Madison Lady Bulldogs 47-36 in the consolation game of the State �A� girls� basketball tournament, played Nov. 17 in the Corn Palace.

The Vermillion varsity had led by three at halftime.

�We had a pretty good first half against Madison,� said Luitjens. �We weren�t letting their big girls hurt us inside. The second half was a different story, though. When you can�t put the ball in the hole, it�s tough to win games. They outscored us 21-8 in the third, and we didn�t score for the last four and half minutes.�

The Tanagers jumped ahead 9-6 after the first quarter, led 21-18 after the second period, and then trailed 39-29 after the third quarter.

With the loss, the Tanagers closed their season with a record of 17-7. Ironically, Madison ended the season on similar note at 17-7.

The Vermillion varsity made 2 of 7 three-pointers and sank 4 of 10 from the line. The Tanagers connected on 15 of 50 from the field, while Madison was 16 of 43 from the field. Madison made 0 of 1 three-point tries and connected on 15 of 18 free throw attempts.

The Tanagers had some excellent individual performances in defeat.

�Despite our poor shooting, we did have some great individual performances by our seniors,� coach Luitjens said. �Carey Engstrom and Abby Moore did an outstanding job on the boards. Abby, who was guarding someone five inches taller, pulled down 11 rebounds. Meggie Donnelly played outstanding defense, never giving up, and was one of our few sparks offensively.

�We will really miss these three girls. They leave some big holes to fill for next year. We have a long off-season this year with girls� basketball in the winter, which will provide a lot of time for girls to improve on their games,� he said. �I really believe with some dedication in the weight room and basketball floor, we�ll have a great shot to go to state again next year.�

Individual Stats, Vermillion varsity: Scoring � Meggie Donnelly, 13, Carey Engstrom, 9, Ashley Bjorkman, 8, Abby Moore, 4, Tessa Tuetken, 2. Rebounds � Moore, 11, Engstrom, 10. Assists � Donnelly, 3. Steals � Donnelly, 3.

Individual Stats, Madison: Scoring � Ashlei Fawbush, 12, Jacque Kuyper, 12, Jenna Nielsen, 10, Janna Hanson, 7, Lindsey Higgins, 6. Rebounds � Fawbush, 6, Kuyper, 5. Assists � Higgins, 7. Steals � Fawbush, 3.

Team rebounds: Vermillion varsity � 29, Madison � 28. Team fouls: Vermillion varsity � 15, Madison � 10.

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