VHS girls' basketball 2003 statistics by Jim Prosser The Tanager girls' basketball team faced many hardships during their 2002-03 campaign. While they suffered 10 losses, five of them were each by less than five points and two of them were overtime losses. The "Lady Tanagers" had two winning streaks, four in a row and 4 out of 5 before the final heartbreaking loss when the buzzer beating 3-point basket by Beresford stopped the two straight year state tournament qualifying for Vermillion.
Nonetheless, there were some high points for individual performances.
Senior Ashley Bjorkman was the top scorer in 20 of the 21 games during the season, registering 422 total points with 38 percent accuracy. Other top four scorers were: Jackie Thomas � 222, Melissa Olson � 103, and Annie Carlson � 97. Top four rebounders were: Bjorkman � 135, Carlson � 88, Kat Redlin � 87, and Thomas � 70.
Dishing out assists were: Thomas � 67, Bjorkman � 64, Annie Roche � 41, and Carlson � 31. Steals were accomplished by: Thomas with 43, Bjorkman � 32, Thomas and Carlson � 19 each.
There were three seniors, four juniors, six sophomores, two freshmen and one eighth-grader on the varsity roster. Bjorkman led with rebounds and assists in 10 games, Michelle Olson was leading rebounder in four games and Melissa Olson in three games, and Jackie Thomas led in assists in nine games.
"We had many great accomplishments this year as a team. Although we had 10 losses, eight of them came down to the final two possessions of the ball games we were in," coach Jamie Parish said. "It's a great testament to this team that they played with the best teams in the state and played everyone right down to the final buzzer night after night.
"Things could have looked dim for us with only one returning starter, but our kids played hard with a never say die attitude that put us in position to win those games. Our team accomplishments include a Big 8 Conference title and a Region 8A title.
"Ashley Bjorkman's individual accomplishments were numerous with two of the most impressive being her 1000th career point back in December and becoming the school's all-time leading scorer. She is a special player that will be missed next year. Also graduating are Allison Stewart and Kaylie Heesch. Allison provided a physical presence for us throughout the year; she did all the little things for us that don't always show up on a stat sheet but as coaches we love it.
"Kaylie came back to basketball after the season switch so that soccer and basketball were no longer conflicting. Her quiet leadership and attitude helped us get through some tough times. All three made significant contributions that will be missed.
"We have a young team coming back and are optimistic. The challenge for these kids is to continue to improve so we can hit the floor running next year," Parish said. "We will return three starters with Jackie Thomas, Annie Carlson, and Kat Redlin along with several subs that contributed this year in Annie Roche, Melissa Olson, Michelle Olson, and Kayla Mollet.
"This summer will be a very big part of how good we can be next year. Right now we are very talented," he said, "but everyone has seen what can happen with untapped talent. Our goal as coaches and players is to tap into that talent next year and pick up right where we left off."