The Tanagers were presented with a gift in the form of a first-round matchup against the Norfolk (NE) Junior Varsity. Yes, the opponent was a squad not classified by the varsity distinction, but the Vermillion boys did not play down to them. They handled business in the necessary way.
The game got off to a fast start for the Tanagers, who led by a score of 16-6 after one period of play. Tanager coach Jason Huska stated, "We came out hard and played fast."
After halftime was declared by the electronic scorekeeping device, the boys' varsity team was able to stay doubled up on their youthful opponent by a mark of 24-12.
The scoring stayed consistent for the Vermillon boys in the final two quarters. The opposite occurred for the undermanned and outplayed Norfolk JV team, who could only produce a total of seven points in the last half. With a two-quarter run of 27-7, the Tanagers saved themselves a seat in the championship. In a game that was only close when it began at 0-0, the final outcome was 51-19, propelling the Tanager boys' basketball team to the .500 mark on the season and what was sure to be a tough tournament finale.
The Tanagers were led by Jordan Boots with 20 points; Jeff Donnelly with 13 points, three steals and three assists; and Broc Gauer with five points and four rebounds.
As a team, Vermillion was 21-45 from the field, 6-10 from the free throw line and 3-5 from three-point range. They only committed eight turnovers and collected eight more rebounds than the opposing team.
As for their opponents, the Norfolk JV was led by Anthony Juhun with five points and two steals and Tom Rutter with five points and three rebounds.
After the game, Coach Huska said, "We took advantage of some of their inexperience. Our defense was the difference."
Poor shooting does not result in championship game win
By Jim Prosser
Going into the championship matchup of the Crofton Holiday Tournament, the Vermillion High School Tanager boys' basketball team and the Bon Homme Cavaliers were evenly-matched in most facets of the game. The deciding factor, however, proved to be the superiority of one team's shooting ability.
After only one quarter of play, the score did not reveal much about the final outcome. Leading 11-9, the Tanager boys would need a strong finish to the first half in order to gain momentum going into the final quarters of play. Vermillion played well, but the Cavaliers of Bon Homme contributed a slightly better effort with a lead of 27-22 after two.
The second half scores were close, but the Tanagers' shooting slumps did not allow them to make up for the minimal gap of scoring between the teams.
The final score was 57-47, a championship victory for the Bon Homme Cavaliers. As a team, the Tanager boys were 19-61, an unmanageable total percentage just above 31, from the field. Compare that to the Cavaliers' percentage of over 50 from the field, and Vermillion's poor shooting can be held accountable for the result in the championship game.
From three-point range, the Tanagers shot 5-25 and the Cavaliers were 6-11. Vermillion only committed six turnovers but were outrebounded by eight.
Once again, the Vermillion boys were paced in scoring by Jordan Boots with 18 and Jeff Donnelly with 16. Broc Gauer finished the game off with five points and six rebounds.
Bon Homme looked to Dustin McLoath and Tyler Van Winkle for leadership in this contest. The well-rounded duo combined for an impressive 37 points, 14 rebounds and six steals.
After the tough championship game loss, Vermillion Varsity coach Jason Huska said, "Bon Homme shot well and made shots when they needed to. We played hard but just did not shoot very well. I'm proud of our effort."
After a two-game holiday stretch that featured flashes of brilliance and a little bit of fizzle, the Tanager boys will be poised to rebound soon.