Tanagers district champs with 62-60 win district championship by Jim Prosser With a surprising turn of events, the Tanager boys' basketball team overcame a three quarter lead by the Alcester-Hudson Cubs by employing a tight defense and sparkling offense in the final six minutes of the District 8A championship game played in the DakotaDome on the USD campus March 6.
The Tanagers rallied to pull off an upset of the Cubs 62-60. Vermillion had trailed by one point with six minutes left in the fourth quarter.
The Cubs were riding a successful barrage of 3-pointers by Mark Smith who completed 6 of 8 from beyond the arc before his surge was stopped by a re-energized Tanager corps, led by Jeff Brevik, Jon Brooks, and Tyler Brown, who helped hold him scoreless the rest of the game.
A-H came in the final as the seventh ranked favorite, but couldn't respond to Vermillion's late flurry of scoring.
Nick Olson scored 27 points and grabbed nine rebounds. Jon Brooks contributed 16 points, made nine assists, and sank 10 of 10 free throws in the first three quarters.
"These seniors have been handling the scoring load all season," said Vermillion varsity coach Jason Huska.
The Tanagers fell behind 22-12 after the first quarter, but advantages of 17-15 and 20-13 in the second and third quarters sliced the deficit to only 50-49 going into the final period.
The Cubs tried to keep things close from three-point range, hitting 8 of 14 from long distance.
"We were a little nervous the first half," said coach Huska. "We made some adjustments and our kids really responded for us the second half. I can't say enough about Alcester-Hudson. They have a great team. I'm very proud of our kids."
In the fourth period, consecutive 3-pointers by Brown and Olson gave the Tanagers a four point lead with 4:12 on the clock.
"A scrambling defense created several turnovers and Vermillion capitalized on them to take the lead," coach Huska said.
In the second half, Tanager Adam Brunick made two 2-pointers in a row which held the Cubs at bay, and Jeff Brevik scored the final three points on a basket and free throw.
"It was enough to insure the victory," said coach Huska.
The Vermillion varsity improved its season mark to 11-9, while Alcester-Hudson fell to 17-4.
Vermillion connected on 14 of 25 free throw tries. The Tanagers connected on 22 of 45 from the field, while Alcester-Hudson was 21 of 52 from the field. The Cubs hit 10 of 13 free throw attempts.
Individual Stats, Vermillion varsity: Scoring � Nick Olson, 27, Jon Brooks, 16, Adam Brunick, 6, Nathan Boots, 5, Tyler Brown, 3, Jeff Brevik, 3. Rebounds � Olson, 9, Brevik, 5, Brooks, 5. Assists � Brooks, 7, Brown, 3. Steals � Brevik, 3.
Individual Stats, Alcester-Hudson: Scoring � Mark Smith, 20, Scott Neu, 13, Nathan Beeler, 7, Trace McKellips, 6, Laramie Harrey, 6, Jared Anderson, 4, Kyle Paulson, 4. Rebounds � Neu, 7, Paulson, 5. Assists � McKellips, 3, Beeler, 3.
Team rebounds: Vermillion varsity � 30, Alcester-Hudson � 27. Team fouls: Vermillion varsity � 13, Alcester-Hudson � 17.