Tanager boys basketball squad gains experience By Parker Knox
Sportswriter Next year's Vermillion boys basketball team will have to get the job done with two of this past season's statistical leaders due to their graduation. On the other hand, eight of the 12 men on the Tanagers' varsity roster will be back for another season, including two more of the leaders in statistical categories. Coach Jay Drake's first Tanager ballclub, which literally started from scratch in December after the previous year's team graduated almost en masse, won six games and lost 15. Vermillion was outscored by opponents, 1213-973. The Tanagers were workers, however, outrebounding the opposition by a 499-482 margin. Blaine Olson, one of four seniors, led the team in field goals made with 76 and free throws made with 56 and thus was the leading scorer with 208 points, an average of 9.9 per game. He was also, by a large margin, the team leader in rebounds off the offensive boards with 50, 32 more than the nearest teammate. Olson's rebound total of 96 was second on the team behind another senior, Kyle Nemec, who crashed the defensive boards for 85 rebounds and a total of 103 boards, an average of 4.9 per contest. Nemec had the best field-goal percentage of the players who saw most action at 56 percent. His 63 field goals tied for second-high behind Olson with Kylen Freidel. Cole Andre was next in total field goals with 59. Freidel, only a junior, was second-high scorer with 184 points, just ahead of Andre, third at 179. Nemec was next in points scored with 155. Freidel with 78 defensive rebounds was second in that statistic behind Nemec, and his average of 4.7 boards per game was second-high as well. Freidel led the ballclub in steals with 30, followed by Andre's 27. Freidel was far and away the team's assists leader with 64. Andre had 38, Tyler Johnson 30 and Jason Rasmussen 22. Johnson, who graduates this year, shared with Andre the best free-throw percentage of 72 percent, making 23 of 32 while Andre sank 21 of 29 from the stripe. Other point totals for the Tanagers this winter were Johnson's 82, Rasmussen's 57, Aaron Steele's 46, Erik Ustad's 29, Jordan Robinson's 26, Tyler Husby's five and Travis Jerrod's two. Jerrod is the other senior on the team. Sam Ekstrom was also a member of the varsity. As a team the Tanagers shot 41 percent from the field compared to the opponents' 43 percent. The opponents had 462 field goals, however, to Vermillion's 341. The Tanagers hit three-pointers at a 32 percent clip, 76 of 238, while opponents sank 99 of 333, a 30 percent success rate. Vermillion made 58 percent of its free-throw chances to the opponents' 66 percent. The Tanagers scored 33.6 points per game and the opponents' 41.8.