Olson's last-second shots lead to win by Jim Prosser The Vermillion Tanagers' Michele Olson made two free throws to give Vermillion a 3 point lead and secure a victory with 10 seconds left in the game as the Vermillion girls' varsity squeaked past the Madison Lady Bulldogs 51-48 Jan. 17 at Vermillion.
The Tanagers had led by four with 20 seconds left in the fourth quarter.
Ashley Bjorkman scored 22 points, made four assists and two steals. Jackie Thomas contributed with 10 points, including two 3-pointers, three rebounds and three assists.
"Ashley continues to lead by example, demonstrating her game savvy in all aspects," said Vermillion coach Jamie Parish.
The Tanagers led 14-10 after the first quarter, led 26-23 at halftime, and then led 41-33 after the third quarter.
Vermillion held onto the win from the free throw line, making 12 of 20 charity tosses to 4 of 9 for Madison.
"We started the game tonight the way that we need to start games," said coach Parish. "Being at home and having our 'super fans' across the gym really gave us a charge. Defensively, the first half was one of the finest efforts that we have given this season. Our kids helped each other out and did a much better job of rebounding than we have seen in our last few games.
"Offensively, it took us some time to adjust to their pressure defense but overall we handled it fairly well and took advantage by trying to attack the basket," coach Parish said. "With 2:30 left in the game were were up by nine, and then Madison came storming back. They shut down Ashley in the fourth quarter and made some tough shots to get it back to a one point game. Along the way we missed some free throws that could have put the game out of reach, but our kids kept battling and did the things that we needed to do to get a win.
"Michelle Olson had a great game; with less than a minute to play she got an offensive rebound that resulted in a foul," the coach said. "Olson then made the two free throws that stretched our lead to three and forced Madison to shoot a long shot for a chance at overtime.
"Ashley Bjorkman led us in scoring and showed some great leadership making good decisions and continually encouraging our younger kids crucial parts of the game. We think this game could be a turning point for us; our team has been in every game this year and now those crucial game-ending situations are starting to pay off. Our kids are learning what types of things we need to do to hold on to those leads and finish games."
In the last quarter, Madison's Katie Satter sank her only shot from long distance with 13.9 seconds in the game.
"Her shot cut the Tanagers' lead to one," coach Parish said.
In the final quarter, after two missed free throws by the Tanagers, Madison made a turnover putting Michelle Olson at the line with 10 seconds left.
"She coolly made both free throws," said coach Parish.
Vermillion improved its season mark to 4-5, while Madison fell to 4-4.
Vermillion sank 3 of 12 three-point tries. The Tanagers hit 18 of 44 from the field, while Madison was 21 of 50 from the field. Madison made 2 of 4 three-point attempts.
The close win had several contributors to the cause.
"We knew Michelle Olson was going to be a contributor to our program, but her early blossoming is an unexpected plus for the team," coach Parish said.
Individual Stats, Vermillion: Scoring � Ashley Bjorkman, 22, Jackie Thomas, 10, Michelle Olson, 8, Kat Redlin, 5, Allison Stewart, 4, Annie Roche, 2. Rebounds � Olson, 2, Thomas, 5, Redlin, 5. Assists � Bjorkman, 4, Thomas, 3. Steals � Olson, 7.
Individual Stats, Madison: Scoring � Lindsay Higgins, 15, Kalie Whealy, 13, Kristen Schaefer, 5, Jenna Nielsen, 4, Danie Kyper, 4, Katie Satter, 3, Katie Brown, 2, Matalie Muellenberg, 2. Rebounds � Whealey, 11, Higgins, 8. Assists � Jenna Nielsen, 2.
Rebounds: Vermillion � 25, Madison � 29. Team fouls: Vermillion� 16, Madison � 19.