The girls basketball season opener lasted one quarter too long for Coach Nick Mayer's Tanagers last Friday.
Vermillion led Harrisburg at halftime, 15-12, and was still within one point, 23-22, after three periods, but in the end a Harrisburg press created too many turnovers to overcome – 24 in all – and the visiting Tigers were able to pull away with a 19-point fourth quarter and went home with a 42-29 victory.
"Our kids played hard for 3 1/2 quarters, but we let it slip away," said Mayer, beginning his second season as head coach. "Their press had us frantic, and they took advantage of us turning the ball over."
Neither team shot well, and in the Tanagers' case at least, that will change, according to Mayer. "We got some good looks against their zone, but we couldn't get enough shots to fall," he said. "There were things we can build on, and we'll improve from it."
Six different Tanagers scored to account for the team's 15 first-half points, concluding with a three-pointer from Claire Jones that put Vermillion up by three at intermission. Val Robinson's trey following a Kelly Amundson steal made it 18-12, but Harrisburg went on a 6-0 run to tie the score. For the rest of the third period it went back and forth.Harrisburg's top gun, Lindsey Johnson, who fortunately for all opponents in the area is finally a senior, scored the game's first basket and then was shut down for three quarters. But to start the final period she twice drove the baseline for layups. A Kayla Taylor three-pointer made it a sudden 30-22 lead for the Tigers, and from there they kept the Tanagers at bay. Johnson scored four more in the quarter to finish with a game-high total of 10.Lexi Regnerus with eight and Robinson with seven led Tanager scoring. Morgan Erickson contributed five, Amundson four, Jones three and Sami Girard two.
Following an away game at South Sioux City last night, the Tanager girls will be home Monday against Madison. On Tuesday they go up to Tri-Valley for their half of a girls-boys doubleheader against the Mustangs.