Eighth-grade girls consolation champs The eighth-grade girls' Burger King basketball team from Vermillion won the consolation championship at the Northeast Nebraska YMCA Basketball Tournament in Norfolk, NE, March 28-29.
In the first game, the girls lost a very tough contest to Sergeant Bluff 39-36. The game was close and hard fought from beginning to end. Burger King let a 5 point lead slip away in the last 30 seconds of the first half and then gave up a quick 5 points at the beginning of the second half. This might have led to a Sergeant Bluff runaway victory, but it didn't.
The Burger King girls, led by the tenacious defense of Ariel Hofman and resurging offense of Alicia Brown, clawed their way back to keep it close the rest of the way � a final 3-point attempt falling short.
Alicia Brown led all scorers with 16 points followed by Chelsea Gauer with 8, Brittni Stewart with 5, Annika Sjolie with 4 and Ariel Hofman with 3.
In an early morning game on Saturday, the Burger King girls defeated the Fremont Rockers 26-22. The girls jumped off to a 7-0 lead and it looked like it would be a Burger King blowout, but it didn't happen. Whether it was a matter of charity or over-confidence or carelessness (this scribe isn't sure), the Burger King girls blew their impressive lead and let Fremont back in the game.
When it came to crunch time, however, the Vermillion girls got tough, stiffened their defense and hit some key shots to pull away with the wind at their backs.
Gauer led all scorers with 9 points. McKinsey Weydert added 5, Brown 4, and Stewart, Sjolie, Hannah Pommersheim and Hofman scored 2 each.
In the consolation finals, Burger King handily defeated the Norfolk Maroon 38-27. The Vermillion girls clearly saved their best effort for the final game. Norfolk had size and skill but it didn't hold up against a determined and surging group of Tanagers in waiting. Indeed, Burger King set a club record by scoring 19 points in the fourth quarter.
This too: a spectacular pass by Brown dishing through a space that didn't seem to exist to Stewart for an oh-so-sweet bucket. A couplet of hoops poetry!
Brown again led the way with 16 points. Hofman added 6, Stewart 5, Anna Isaacson 4, Gauer 3, Weydert 3 and Pommersheim 1.
Coaches Randy Isaacson and Alan Gauer both stated that they were elated by the team's performance. They especially noted the hard work and determination of the girls to never give up, to always help each other and to play like a team.