Two tall, talented and experienced teams dealt Vermillion's boys basketball team substantial defeats last week.
After a season-opening win over Harrisburg, the Tanagers fell at Lennox, 67-37, as they were outscored in the second half by a 42-20 margin. Two nights later the Tanagers faced Nebraska's third-rated South Sioux City Cardinals and lost there, 78-45, scoring only 18 second-half points to the winners' 38.
Vermillion came out of the chute ablaze at Lennox and had a 10-0 lead before the Orioles woke up. A pair of Tanner Anderson steals led to the first two Tanager field goals, a five-foot jumper by Nile Morecraft and a basket by Austin Krier. Krier scored again, banking home a shot off the glass, and Anderson canned a three-pointer. A Tyler Husby free throw made it a surprising 10-0 lead. A running jumper by Krier was the Tanagers' only remaining points of the first period, however, as Lennox rallied to within 12-9 at quarter's end.
The Vermillion offense began to struggle mightily in the second period at the same time the Lennox defense was stiffening considerably. The Tanagers got off only three shots to Lennox's 10 in the second quarter. Anderson hit another three-pointer and Husby made two free throws as the team was outscored 16-5 and fell behind at halftime, 25-17.
By halftime the Oriole bench had accounted for 14 points to their starter's 11.
In the second half Krier had a seven-point third quarter, but the Orioles began to cruise and led 48-29 after three periods.
Krier finished with a 17-point game, going six-of-eight from the field and four-of-six at the stripe. Anderson had eight points, Husby six, Morecraft three and J.T. Sorensen two. On the boards the Tanagers were at a 25-11 disadvantage. Morecraft was Vermillion's leader on the boards with three to his creditr.
Morecraft had the best performance of his still-young varsity career with 15 points at South Sioux City, hitting on seven of his nine field-goal attempts. He also had 17 rebounds, eight on the offensive end and nine off the defensive boards. Husby had 11 points, Krier 10, including a perfect seven-of-seven at the stripe, Anderson seven and Jayce Huska two to round out the Tanager scoring.
South Sioux City had a pair of 20s in each of the first two quarters to lead 20-13 and 40-27 at the ends of those period. Austin Groth with 28 points and Mike Gesell with 21 were a duo the Tanagers couldn't contain.
Nick Jensen had eight points to lead the Vermillion JVs at South Sioux City, but the Cardinals won the game, 71-29.
Between the holidays the Tanagers will be in action as part of a girls-boys doubleheader at Tea Area High School next Tuesday in the late afternoon. Preliminary games begin there at 2 p.m.