Tanagers top Todd County 62-41 By Jim Prosser In a terrific performance praised by the coach, the Vermillion varsity Tanagers pulled away in the second half to overcome the Todd County Falcons 62-41 in girls� basketball March 10 at Watertown in the first round of the South Dakota Girls Class A State Basketball Tournament.
Jackie Thomas scored 21 points, grabbed four rebounds and made three steals. Melissa Olson canned 12 points and pulled down 11 boards. Annie Roche contributed with 10 points, five assists and five steals.
The Tanagers jumped in front 15-12 after the first quarter, went into the locker room up 30-21 at halftime, and then led 39-33 after the third period.
The Tanagers heated things up from three-point range, hitting 6 of 11 from long distance.
�Today�s game was our focus for over a week,� said Vermillion coach Jamie Parish. �We knew that we had to take away Todd County�s transition game. All of their kids like to get out and run trying to get fast break opportunities. To counteract that, we did a combination two things: we sent our big kids to the boards very hard after a patient offensive possession, when kids are releasing to shoot layups there are always extra opportunities for offensive rebounds, and we had our other kids really focus on getting back to take away layups.
�In the first half, we took away almost any quick shots from them,� he said. �Our team played great defense by holding a high scoring team to only 41 points.�
Vermillion improved its record to 13-9, while Todd County dropped to 10-3.
Vermillion hit 22 of 26 free throw attempts. The Tanagers sank 15 of 36 field goals, while Todd County was 14 of 38 from the field. The Falcons made 10 of 14 free throw attempts.
A number of excellent individual efforts highlighted the win.
�Ellen Odson did a great job defensively for us,� coach Parish said. �She had to guard one of the most versatile players we have seen all year � Sunni Busch, who is a strong player that can post up, dribble, penetrate and shoot the three. A kid like that is going to create opportunities for herself to score, but Ellen really frustrated her and made her work extremely hard for every single basket. As the game wore on, Busch ran out of gas and couldn�t finish strong.
�Jackie Thomas had a great game offensively. She got this started for us early against Todd County�s zone defense with four 3-point field goals,� Parish said. �Jackie is a player that hasn�t scored as much for us this year by her choice. Our coaching staff is very proud of her; Jackie has given up a lot of shots this year in order to become a better distributor that makes our team better.�
Individual Stats, Vermillion: Scoring � Jackie Thomas, 21, Melissa Olson, 12, Annie Roche, 10, Ellen Odson, 9, Michelle Olson, 7, Alisha Brown, 3. Rebounds � Melissa O., 11, Michelle O., 5. Assists � Roche, 5. Steals � Roche, 5.
Individual Stats, Todd County: Scoring � Sunni Busch, 20, Char Wilson, 7, Summer Folkers, 6, Kari Two Lance, 6, Shandia Prac, 2. Rebounds � Wilson, 7, Busch, 6. Assists � Two Lance, 3. Steals � Busch, 2.
Team rebounds: Vermillion � 29, Todd County � 28. Team fouls: Vermillion � 12, Todd County � 19.