Superb team effort couldn't stop Orioles Vermillion Tanager Jon Brooks (12) drives past a Lennox defender Tuesday to score during the Region 4A championship game Tuesday at the Elmen Center in Sioux Falls. The match-up was nothing like the first meeting of the two teams early in the boys' basketball season. by Jim Prosser In a superb team effort not reflected by the score, the Vermillion Tanagers were defeated by the Lennox Orioles 62-53 in boys' basketball March 11 at the Elmen Center in Sioux Falls in the championship game of the Region 4A Tournament.
"We played hard and gave them everything we had," said Vermillion varsity coach Jason Huska. "Lennox capitalized on a few of our turnovers which was the difference. I'm very proud of our kids. We were playing our best basketball at the right time. We just fell a little short tonight."
The Tanagers tried to stay in the game from three-point range, hitting 8 of 13 from long distance, but it wasn't enough.
Lennox jumped in front 17-14 after the first quarter, and held an edge of 18-12 in the second quarter. Vermillion had an advantage of 17-11 in the third period to shave the deficit to only 46-43 going into the final period.
"Vermillion was playing really well right now," Lennox head coach Jeff Larson told the Yankton Press & Dakotan. "We were just able to make runs to stop theirs."
Lennox's Clayton Wulf finished with a game-high 27 points.
"He's got a quick step and can get up on the rim � he's a good athlete in everything that he does," said Larson of his star player. "In pressure situations, you can expect him to step up and he did that."
Gearman added 17 points and Eppard scored nine with his three 3-pointers.
Olson, who dropped in three treys and also worked hard inside, led the Tanagers with 16 points during a 32-minute night.
"He hasn't come out all year," said Huska of the 6-4 workhorse. "I can't say enough about Nick � he's a solid player."
Brooks added 15 points to Vermillion's attack.
"We had some confidence going in," said Huska. "I'm really proud of these guys; we just came up against a good Lennox team."
The Orioles now enter the State A's in Rapid City with a convincing 20-1 record.
"We just tried to take them one at a time," said Larson. "If you start thinking about the state tournament too soon, you're not going to make it.
"This is a team thing," added Larson. "Everybody hits the floor together and they expect others to step up."
Vermillion finished their season with a 11-10 mark.
The loss dropped Vermillion varsity to a season-ending record of 11-10, while Lennox improved to 20-1.
Vermillion sank 9 of 12 free throw attempts. The Tanagers connected on 18 of 31 field goal attempts, while Lennox was 25 of 51 from the field. The Orioles sank 7 of 9 free throw tries.
Individual Stats, Vermillion varsity: Scoring � Nick Olson, 16, Jon Brooks, 15, Nathan Boots, 7, Tyler Brown, 7, Jeff Brevik, 5, Adam Brunick, 3. Rebounds � Olson, 6, Brooks, 4, Brunick, 4. Assists � Brown, 4.
Team rebounds: Vermillion varsity � 19, Lennox-22. Team fouls: Vermillion varsity � 17, Lennox � 12.