Tanagers claim third place at state ‘A’

Tanagers claim third place at state 'A' Members of the Vermillion Tanager girls basketball team are (back) assistant coach Leah Bakke, Brittany Babb, Kinsey Weydert, Krista Froke, Alicia Brown, Brittany Bye, Melissa Olson, Michelle Olson, Paige Prosser, and coach Jamie Parish, and (front) assistant coach Lenni Billberg, Chelsea Gauer, Annie Roche, Jackie Thomas, Ellen Odson and Anna Isaacson. (Photo by Peterman Photography) By Jim Prosser The Vermillion varsity Tanagers pulled away in the second half to beat the Parkston Lady Trojans 67-52 in girls basketball March 12 at Watertown in the third-place game of the South Dakota Girls Class A Basketball Tournament.

The Tanagers clinched third place in the state tournament with the win; their only loss came against the Hamlin Chargers, who were crowned champions Saturday night by defeating West Central. Vermillion improved its record to 14-10, while Parkston dropped to 19-6.

Annie Roche scored 15 points, and made five assists and three steals. Melissa Olson contributed with 18 points and seven rebounds, and Ellen Odson�s efforts included 12 points, four rebounds and four assists.

The Tanagers took the lead 18-17 after the first quarter, and margins of 16-10 and 16-12 in the second and third quarters boosted the lead to 50-39 going into the final period.

The contest was well-played, with the Tanagers committing only 7 turnovers and the Lady Trojans committing only 6.

�This was really a fun game for us,� said Vermillion coach Jamie Parish. �I have the utmost respect for coach VanLaecken and his girls; he�s a great coach and a good friend, and having a chance to play against his team is always fun for us. We model a lot of things in our program after what they have done. Eventually we would like to build a tradition similar to what Parkston has year in and year out. We are really proud of what we have accomplished this year; our girls really came together and created a team environment that was conducive to helping us succeed.

�We have grown and changed so much since last year wih our girls deciding to put aside their personal glory and be part of something that is bigger than themselves,� he said. �We removed the selfishness and doubt from the locker room environment and replaced it with desire, commitment and hard work. Our girls realized last spring that, in order to improve, it was going to take some hard work. They put in countless hours during June, July and August so that they could still be playing basketball during the second weekend in March.�

Vermillion hit 6 of 15 three-point attempts and made 17 of 21 from the line. The Tanagers connected on 22 of 41 field goals, while Parkston was 17 of 42 from the field. Parkston hit 3 of 10 three-pointers and connected on 11 of 15 from the line.

Several significant individual efforts contributed to the win.

�It�s hard to pick an individual tonight that stood out; playing in the third place game has the danger of being a let down,� coach Parish said. �We talked with our kids before going to the gym that there were at least 60 other teams in the state that would switch places with us in heartbeat just to be at the state tournament. Our kids also wanted to send our seniors out with a win and take a step toward building that tradition that we are always trying to reinforce.

�Annie Roche and Melissa Olson got us off to a great start, scoring 15 points between them in the first quarter. Lacey Powell has 13 first quarter points for Parkston to keep them in the game. From that point on we held her to three made free throws so that she finished with 16. Ellen Odson and Jackie Thomas completely shut her down and didn�t allow her to make another field goal for the rest of the game. �Melissa Olson finished with one of the best games of her career with 18 points, and seven rebounds. Jackie Thomas made three more 3-pointers tonight to finish the tournament with 10. Ellen Odson did what she always does, makes baskets when we need them, gets rebounds, when we need them, gets a couple of assists and makes her free throws to put the game out of reach. Annie Roche broke out of her slump tonight by going 5-7 from the floor including 7-10 from the line. In recognition for their great play, Jacke Thomas and Annie Roche were named to the all-tournament team.�

Individual Stats, Vermillion: Scoring � Melissa Olson, 18, Annie Roche, 18, Ellen Odson, 12, Jackie Thomas, 9, Alicia Brown, 6, Michelle Olson, 4. Rebounds � Melissa O., 7, Roche, 6. Assists � Roche, 5, Odson, 4. Steals � Roche, 3, Odson, 2.

Individual Stats, Parkston: Scoring � Lacey Powell, 15, Maggie Malloy, 14, Tami Luebke, 6, Emily Schoenfelder, 6, Kelli Feigen, 7, Kendra Nuegebauer, 4. Rebounds � Powell, 5, Luebke, 5, Schoenfelder, 5. Assists � Malloy, 4. Steals � Schoenfelder, 3.

Team rebounds: Vermillion � 28, Parkston � 30. Team fouls: Vermillion � 17, Parkston � 20.

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