Elk Point-Jefferson broke away from a 19-19 tie midway through the third period and never trailed again, but Vermillion made it uncomfortably interesting Tuesday night in a 40-38 loss to the Huskies at the VHS gym.
The Tanagers faced a 30-24 deficit heading into the final quarter. They crept to within 36-32 with 3:05 remaining and had a shot to cut the deficit down to two points but missed it, and EP-J responded with three points for its biggest lead of the night at 39-32.
Yet the pesky Tanagers couldn't be shaken. Morgan Erickson's basket and subsequent free throw with 29 seconds left made it 39-35. Vermillion fouled immediately, and EP-J helped by not only missing two free throws but also fouling themselves on the rebound of the latter missed shot.
Sierra Allen made one of two free throws to pull VHS within three. The Tanagers fouled deliberately again, and this time the Huskies managed one of two free throws with 15 seconds left. The Tanagers could do nothing more until a meaningless tip-in at the final buzzer cut the final margin to two.
Erickson was high scorer for VHS with 11. Sophie Nehlich-Arobba added 10 and Sarah Day 10. EP-J was led by Chrissy Strasburg's 11 points and nine apiece from Shelby Larsen, Reanna Bertram and Tory McCreary.
Sophie Nehlich-Arobba was credited with nine rebounds, Day seven and Hannah Nehlich-Arobba six.
Last Tuesday the Lady Tanagers fell victim to a scourge of Lennox free throws in a 37-26 loss to the Orioles.
Vermillion scored in the first half-minute of the game but then went a full quarter before scoring again. Down 10-2, the Tanagers crept back to within 17-9 at halftime and 26-19 after three periods.
The Tanagers reduced their deficit to four points early in the fourth quarter but couldn't get key shots to drop. Beth Szymonski scored with 2:35 left to cut the gap to 28-24, but the Orioles were red-hot at the free-throw stripe. In fact, all 11 of the fourth-quarter points scored by Lennox came via free throws, and the Orioles made 13 of 15 for the game.
Shooting only 24 percent from the field for the game, the Tanagers were led offensively by Sierra Allen and Morgan Erickson with seven points apiece. Brianne McEntee had 12 points and Allison McEntee 10 for Lennox.
The VHS girls have a busy weekend, going to Lennox Friday ni
ght, then taking on Sergeant Bluff-Luton in the Dakota Valley Classic at 3:15 p.m. Saturday in North Sioux City. Next Thursday the Tanagers play at West Central.