Thanks in large part to Lindsey Johnson's 21 points and her team's 2-to-1 rebounding advantage, Harrisburg dealt a season-opening 49-40 loss to Vermillion in girls basketball at Harrisburg Friday.
In Nick Mayer's debut as head coach, the Tanagers never led but clawed their way to within 39-37 midway through the fourth quarter. Vermillion had several chances to tie or take the lead but could never get a shot to fall. The Tigers were able to get enough baskets in the late going to swell their final advantage to nine points.
"I thought the kids played really hard," Mayer said afterward. "We may not have come away with the 'W,' but we took a lot of positives from the game. We got after Harrisburg on the defensive end, which resulted in 19 Harrisburg turnovers."
Thirty-five of Vermillion's 40 points came from three scorers. Sophie Nehlich-Arobba had 10 points, Lexi Regnerus eight and Hannah Nehlich-Arobba seven. Sophie also contributed four assists while Hannah had five steals. Sarah Day was top rebounder with six and also had five steals.
"We had some matchup problems, and the first quarter was a little bit of a struggle, but our kids adjusted pretty well to Harrisburg," Mayer commented. "We learned a lot about our personnel, and we got some contributions off the bench."
Mayer and his crew have had this whole week to practice as they endure a 10-day gap between their first and second games. Vermillion returns to game competition Monday evening at Madison, followed by afternoon games at Tea Area on Dec. 29.