A stirring second-half comeback by Vermillion's girls varsity fell just short Monday night as Madison escaped the VHS gym with a 52-48 win.
Trailing at halftime by 29-18, the Tanagers found a second-half power source in Lexi Regnerus, who found her zone with six three-point field goals in the final two quarters as part of her amazing 24-point performance. Back from the dead by the end of the third quarter when they were within a point of Madison, the Tanagers eventually took the lead a minute into the final period and led by as many as three as time wore on.
But from a 48-48 tie with 1:19 left on the last of Regnerus' bombs, a devastating offensive rebound by Madison's 6'4" Christa Paul gave the Bulldogs a permanent lead of 50-48. Vermillion twice missed shots in the final minute, and Madison was able to add a pair of free throws to salt away a four-point victory.
The Tanagers trailed 16-10 after a quarter, and the deficit grew as the second stanza progressed until it was 11 at the intermission. But Regnerus hit a long-distance shot to start the third quarter, and the Vermillion comeback was on.
Morgan Erickson contributed four points and Claire Jones and Kelly Amundson a field goal apiece during the Tanagers' 17-point third quarter. At the same time the defense stepped up and held the Bulldogs to only two field goals in the period, both of them early in that stanza.
The game was tied at 38-38 until Regnerus connected yet again for Vermillion's biggest lead at 41-38. Amundson dished to Jones for a 43-40 edge, but Madison tied it up. Then Blair Gilkyson popped a 12-footer to make it 45-45. At that point a crucial turn of events tipped the scales toward Madison. A basket by Bailey Milne and her missed free throw were followed by an offensive rebound by the Bulldogs' McKayla McNary, and as she put the ball back in for two, she was fouled for a free throw. That five-point swing in a matter of three seconds' time shifted momentum. Regnerus' last bucket tied the game, but that was it for the Vermillion offense.
Val Robinson finished with eight points. Amundson and Gilkyson had four each, Jones three, Erickson two, Beth Szymonski two and Josie Huber a free throw to round out the VHS scoring. Madison's talented threesome of McNary, Milne and Paul had 17, 12 and 11 points, respectively.
Amundson had seven rebounds and Robinson five. The Tanagers were outrebounded by a margin of only 29-28.
Last week at South Sioux City the Tanagers fell to the Cardinals, ranked third in their state's Class B ratings, 67-47. From a 16-7 deficit after one quarter, the Tanagers saw the Cards go on a 12-0 run toward a 36-20 halftime edge, and there was no catching up after that.
Erickson had 14 points, including six-of-six at the stripe, to lead the Tanagers. Amundson added nine points, Regnerus six, Josie Huber four, Gilkyson four, Carlee Sorensen four, Syzmonski two, Jones two and Mackenzie Huber two. Tristen Sharp had 18 and Morgan Hansen 12 for South Sioux, which outrebounded Vermillion 37-19.
The Tanager women will be at Tea Area as part of a girls-boys doubleheader next Tuesday.