Tanagers earn ‘A’ tourney berth

Tanagers earn 'A' tourney berth Members of the 2005 Region 4A champion Vermillion Tanagers are (back) Coach Jamie Parish, Kinsey Weydert, Chelsea Gauer, Annie Roche, Krista Froke, Alicia Brown, Brittni Stewart, Anna Isaacson, Brittany Bye, assistant coach Lenni Billberg, assistant coach Leah Bakke, (second row) Paige Prosser, Michelle Olson, and (front) Ellen Odson, Jackie Thomas and Melissa Olson. (Photo courtesy of Peterman Photography) By Jim Prosser The Vermillion varsity Tanagers rallied to beat the Parker Pheasants 47-43 in girls� basketball March 1 at Stewart Center in Sioux Falls to claim the Region 4Achampionship.

With the triumph the Tanagers advance to the State �A� Tournament which will be played from March 10-12 at Watertown.

Vermillion had trailed by one at halftime.

Annie Roche scored 17 points and made four assists. Jackie Thomas poured in 14 points and made four steals, and Melissa Olson contributed with 14 points and four steals.

The Tanagers fell behind 14-11 after the opening period, trailed 21-20 after the second quarter, and then held a lead of 36-28 going into the final period.

�Our girls played really hard,� said Vermillion coach Jamie Parish. �It was a total team effort. Defensively, we really shut down their top players. Our senior leadership showed through tonight keeping everyone motivated throughout the game. We built a 12 point lead early in the fourth quarter, and survived their full-court press.�

Pheasant head coach Bill Leberman felt that Roche played an outstanding game for the Tanagers.

�I felt that Roche was the difference maker for them tonight,� he said. �She handled the ball well and made clutch shots when they needed them.�

The Pheasants would not go down without a fight, however, as they strung together an 11-6 spurt which saw them climb back to within four points of the Tanagers at 44-40 with just under a minute remaining in the game.

Throughout that run the Pheasants used a smothering full court press which caused numerous Tanager turnovers that led to easy Parker baskets.

With 26 ticks remaining on the clock Kasey Peters hit a clutch three to pull the Pheasants within two at 45-43.

Peters led the Pheasants with nine points.

Proceeding the Peters trey Roche was fouled and hit only the back end of a trip to the charity stripe to give her Tanagers a 46-43 advantage.

Parker had one last attempt to try and send the game into overtime and nearly did so when Abby Plucker fired a long three-pointer which bounced three times on the iron before it rolled off the hoop and into the arms of a Tanager.

Olson sealed the victory for Vermillion at 47-43 when she hit one of two free throw attempts with inside 10 seconds left to play in the final quarter.

Vermillion hit 3 of 6 three-pointers and sank 12 of 17 from the line. The Tanagers connected on 16 of 42 field goals, while Parker was 14 of 36 from the field. Parker hit 2 of 5 three-point attempts and sank 13 of 15 from the line.

The Tanagers had several important contributors in the close win.

�In the final two minutes of the game, Alicia Brown went two-for-two from the free-throw line, and Melissa Olson and Annie Roche each were one-for-two from the charity stripe,� coach Parish said. �Parker attempted a three-pointer at the buzzer and missed, and we secured the championship.�

Individual Stats, Vermillion: Scoring � Annie Roche, 17, Jackie Thomas, 14, Melissa Olson, 9, Alisha Brown, 4, Ellen Odson, 2, Paige Prosser, 1. Rebounds � Melissa Olson, 11, Michelle Olson, 4. Assists � Roche, 4, Odson, 3, Thomas, 3. Steals � Thomas, 4.

Individual Stats, Parker: Scoring � Kasey Peters, 9, Crystal Abbas, 8, Katie Bones, 7, Abby Plucker, 7, Katalyn Kuntz, 7, Nicole Pauls, 5. Rebounds � Davis, 6, Bones, 4, Kuntz, 4. Assists � Kuntz, 3. Steals � Kuntz, 3.

Team rebounds: Vermillion � 16, Parker � 22. Team fouls: Vermillion � 18, Parker � 16.

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