Tanager opponents fight hard for wins By Parker Knox
Sportswriter All a coaching staff can do with a young, struggling, inexperienced team is to get them into a position where they have a chance to win a game occasionally. For the Tanager girls in a rough week that ended with three defeats, they found themselves in that position in one of those games last week. Vermillion ended up losing to Lennox, 47-40, but the Orioles got the win only after a stiff effort from Coach Jamie Parish's Tanagers. Earlier in the week Vermillion lost to Elk Point-Jefferson, 46-29, and on Saturday morning they fell to Sioux City West, 40-34, as a strong fourth quarter brought them back from a 15-point deficit after three periods. The Tanagers will be home against Canton Friday night. Next week they go to Beresford Tuesday and to Dell Rapids Thursday. EP-J 46, VHS 29 Tuesday's game at Elk Point got away from the Tanagers early after they had gone up 4-0. The Huskies followed with a 14-0 run until Lexi Regnerus' basket beat the first-quarter buzzer. From that 14-6 deficit the Tanagers trailed 25-12 at halftime and suffered through a two-point third quarter as the hole got steadily deeper. Ashley Ouellette's eight points, Sara Kjose's six and Sierra Allen's five accounted for the bulk of the Vermillion scoring. VHS …. 6 12 14 29 EP-J … 14 25 35 46 VHS: Allen 1-2 3-4 5, Ouellette 4-8 0-0 8, S. Nehlich-Arobba 0-2 0-2 0, H. Nehlich-Arobba 1-7 0-0 2, Kjose 3-9 0-1 6, Regnerus 1-3 1-2 3, Robinson 1-3 1-2 3, Huska 0-0 0-0 0, Erickson 0-0 0-0 0, Munger 0-1 0-1 0, Amundson 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 12-37 5-12 29. EP-J: 18-43 6-10 46 Lennox 47, VHS 40 When a team commits 16 turnovers and shoots only 28 percent from the floor, it takes a superhuman effort to still have a chance to win, yet against Lennox the Tanagers came out of nowhere to change a 37-30 third-quarter deficit into a 40-40 tie with a 10-3 run to start the final period. "Our kids played extremely hard," Parish commented. "They dived for loose balls, ran hard after rebounds and really tried to make plays. We gave ourselves a chance to be in the game late, but unfortunately the Lennox girls just made some plays during the last minutes of the game and stole it from us." From that 40-40 tie the Tanagers did not score again. Vermillion missed a layup and fouled on the rebound to give Lennox a 43-40 lead. The Orioles missed the second of two free shots but got that rebound, too, and added another free throw, so it was 44-40 with 11 seconds left, and the game was all but over. VHS lost the ball once more and Lennox scored to pad the score to the final seven-point spread. "Our coaches will continue to try to find ways to put our kids into positions where they can get easier opportunities to score and maybe get to the free-throw line," Parish said. "The effort is still there. We're going to keep competing, and hopefully luck will be on our side some night soon." Hannah Nehlich-Arobba led VHS with nine points while Kelly Amundson and Sierra Allen followed with eight each. For the No. 7-rated Orioles Allison McEntee and Kassie Loe had nine apiece. Amundson grabbed seven rebounds and Sophie Nehlich-Arobba six. Lennox … 13 27 37 47 VHS …… 11 19 30 40 VHS: Allen 3-7 2-2 8. Ouellette 1-3 0-1 2. S. Nehlich-Arobba 1-5 3-4 5. H. Nehlich-Arobba 2-9 5-6 9. Kjose 2-8 0-0 6. Regnerus 0-0 0-0 0. Robinson 0-0 0-0 0. Erickson 0-0 0-0 0. Munger 0-0 1-3 1. Amundson 2-8 4-4 8. Totals 11-40 15-20 39. Lennox: 19-46 7-14 47. West 40, VHS 34 After the emotional Lennox loss, the Tanagers tipped off against West at the Dakota Valley Classic only 15 hours later. That's a tough schedule, but it's the way it is going to be during a tough February schedule and at tournament time. "We need to get used to it," Parish said. "Against West we played hard but didn't have the bounce in our step," Parish added. "In the first half we were 3-of-18 from the floor. In the second half we got some more transition baskets and upped our percentage to 9-of-23. Though with 20 turnovers and only 29 percent from the floor, it makes it difficult for us to hold off opponents." Down 26-13 at halftime and 34-19 after three, the Tanagers outscored West 15-6 in the fourth quarter, but the early mountain was too high to overcome. Hannah Nehlich-Arobba led scoring with 12 while Morgan Erickson added seven and Sierra Allen and Sophie Nehlich-Arobba six each. Kelly Amundson, Allen, Ashley Ouellette and Hannah Nehlich-Arobba had four rebounds apiece. Summer Gordon led West's scoring with 13.