Pressure defense gives Tanagers fits By Parker Knox
Sports Writer Even though early-season losses to more experienced teams were to be expected, Tanagers boys' basketball coach Jay Drake's goal for his club was to at least improve from game to game. Unfortunately when South Sioux City's young but talented Cardinals came to the VHS gym on Dec. 22, Drake didn't see the steady improvement in his team after opening-season losses to Harrisburg and Lennox. South Sioux gained a big advantage in the first half, in large part due to a pressure defense in the backcourt that gave the Tanagers fits, and rolled to an 83-37 win. "My job is to get the team ready to play, and I don't think we were ready to play," Drake said after the game. "It was disappointing, but we have to figure out a way to get going." The Tanagers were still within 17-11 midway through the opening quarter, but they would never be that close again. It was 23-14 for South Sioux at the end of the initial period when Vermillion's Kylen Freidel drained a buzzer-beating three-pointer from three-quarters of the way back. Freidel would go on to lead the Vermillion offense with 12 points. South Sioux City held a halftime lead of 47-28 and then enjoyed a 17-4 advantage in the third period to go up by a 2-to-1 margin, 64-32, after three quarters. "This was probably the best pressure we will see all year," Drake said, "but it won't be the last team that will press us, so we have to step up and make good decisions and take better care of the ball." After playing twice at the Crofton holiday tournament Dec. 29-30, the Tanagers have more than a week off before back-to-back home contests against West Central and Parkston on Thursday and Friday, Jan. 8-9. S.S.City …. 23 47 64 83 Vermillion .. 14 28 32 37 VHS: Erik Ustad 1-2 0-1 3, Aaron Steele 1-2 3-4 5, Cole Andre 1-6 2-2 4, Jordan Robinson 0-2 0-1 0, Tyler Johnson 1-3 0-0 2, Kylen Freidel 6-13 0-4 12, Tyler Husby 1-2 0-2 2, Blaine Olson 0-5 3-8 3, Sam Ekstrom 0-0 0-0 0, Travis Jerred 0-0 0-0 0, Kyle Nemec 1-3 3-4 5. Totals 12-38 11-26 37. SSC: Totals 31-61 11-13 83.