Tanager recap from State-A action

Tanager recap from State-A action
The Vermillion Tanagers were seeded fifth in the South Dakota Girls' State A Basketball Tournament, and faced the No. four seed Cheyenne Eagle Butte Braves in the tourney's first round held in Spearfish on Thursday, March 8.

The Tanagers prevailed in a hotly contested 52-47 win.

The second round game might questionably be considered the championship since Milbank came into the tournament as the No. 1 seed. The Tanagers took an early lead and appeared to be headed for an easy win.

However, the "Bulldogs" kept up the pressure and by the end of the third period the game score was close and the Tanagers built a 3-point lead with about two minutes left in the game. The score was tied after Hamlin sank a 3-pointer.

What followed was what legends produce. Vermillion held the ball until there was 19 seconds on the clock. After a time out, Alicia Brown took the ball in bounds and drove to the basket for a shot – which was blocked by the Bulldog's Amber Wollschlager.

As Wollschlager broke toward the opposite end of the court, she was followed closely by Annie Roche. Roche tipped the ball from behind teammate Chelsea Gauer, who quickly passed it back to Roche. Roche fired the ball from mid-court to Brown, who was stationed under the basket.

She caught the pass and laid up the winning basket as time ran out. Final score: Tanagers 72; Bulldogs 70.

The tournament championship game pitted the Tanagers against the Bennett County Warriors. The match-up offered the Vermillion squad members a chance to improve their standing from the previous two state tournaments.

With a flurry of four 3-pointers in the opening quarter, Vermillion built a comfortable lead which was never really threatened. With Roche controlling the pace of the play and Brown leading the rebounders, the outcome was never in doubt.

Chelsea Gauer opened the fourth quarter with a 3-pointer that extended the Tanagers' lead to 10 points. Her contribution to the victory included 11 points. The final championship score was Tanagers 56; Warriors 48.

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