A vastly improved Beresford club used runs of 8-0 and 9-0 – one in the first half and the other to start the third quarter – then made free throws late when Vermillion had to purposely foul and left town with a 64-55 win over the Tanagers Tuesday.
The Watchdogs, now standing at 7-6 for the year, blew out to a 19-12 lead, but a strategic timeout by Coach Jay Drake stemmed that tide and inspired his team to an exciting second quarter. Two treys by Cole Andre, another by Austin Krier, and three buckets by Jason Rasmussen lifted the Tanagers back into a 29-29 halftime deadlock.
But Beresford hit its first five shots of the second half to spurt ahead by 41-31. The Tanagers were able to get within four in the third period and within three early in the final quarter.
VHS made one final run midway through the fourth stanza. Kylen Freidel stole the ball and fed it to Andre, then after a pair of Watchdog turnovers, Freidel drove to the hoop himself, and the deficit was down to 54-51. But from then on, Beresford slowed down the game and waited to be sent to the free-throw stripe. There the Watchdogs sank eight in the last minute to pad their lead.
The Tanager offense showed contributions from everybody – Andre with 16 points, Rasmussen 12, Freidel eight, Krier eight, Tyler Husby six and Aaron Steele five. VHS was 12-of-13 at the charity stripe. Beresford was led by Jordan Powell with 22 and Holden Cotton with 19.
Outrebounded 29-19, the Tanagers were led off the boards by Husby with seven and Rasmussen and Andre with four apiece. Rasmussen had four steals and Steele four assists.
Beresford shot 55 percent from the field to Vermillion's 34 percent.
Struggling again in the first quarter, the Tanagers continued a pattern stretching back for six games when they hosted Dell Rapids last Thursday.
"It's frustrating to fall behind early and we're always fighting back," said Coach Jay Drake after his Tanagers succumbed to the Quarriers, 58-50. "The first quarter has been our Achilles heel for six games. Sooner or later we just have to say we're sick and tired of this and finally get one of these wins."
Though they find themselves down, the Tanagers seem always able to stage at least one rally, and they did against the Quarriers. Down 15-6 after one quarter, they came up with a 50 percent shooting effort in the second period to close to within four points three different times and trailed by 32-26 at halftime.
Again in the third the Tanagers fell down immediately by 10 and got back to within five. To start the final period, however, Dell Rapids controlled the ball for two minutes and then sank a deadly three-pointer. They would go ahead by 12, and from then on the Tanagers ran out of time and opportunities.
VHS, which ended up with a 40 percent shooting night, put three men into double figures. Kylen Freidel scored 16, Cole Andre 12 and Jason Rasmussen 12. Tyler Husby with six and Aaron Steele with four had the other 10 points.
The Tanagers were outboarded 30-20. Andre and Freidel had six rebounds each and Husby and Rasmussen four apiece. Andre with four and Freidel with three were the assists leaders.
The schedule gets no easier as Vermillion heads into the final three weeks of the regular season. VHS plays at Madison Friday night and joins the girls at Dakota Valley for a Tuesday doubleheader.