(Photo by David Lias)
Dominating the game from its very first moments, Beresford let no doubt as to its superiority in District 8A girls basketball this season in the championship game on its home court last Thursday.
The Watchdogs won for the 20th time in 22 games and advanced to within one game of the state tournament with a 54-31 defeat of Vermillion. The Tanagers season came to a fast conclusion with a record of 9-13.
Gliding along like a well-oiled machine, Beresford played defense that kept Vermillion shut down inside and intimidated its outside shooters. Had the Watchdogs not missed a few wide-open shots in the first quarter, things could easily have become worse much sooner than they did.
As it was, the Tanagers fell into an immediate 7-0 hole, and it was 16-6 after one quarter in which VHS could get off only seven shots. Claire Jones' three-pointer midway through the period was the only field goal for her team until Blair Gilkyson put in a lay-up at the halftime buzzer. The score then was 27-12. VHS had made two of 13 shots by that time while the Watchdogs were sinking more than they would need 10 of 22.
Perhaps a 15-point deficit was possible to be overcome, but not after Beresford promptly scored eight straight points to start the third quarter, six of them by Alison Klostergaard.
Trying to come back against a team like Beresford is very difficult, Coach Nick Mayer said. We couldnt get going on a big stage like this.
Once its 23-point advantage was attained, Beresford was content to match baskets with the Tanagers the rest of the way and kept their starters on the court until the final 90 seconds just to be sure.
Ten of Vermillions 31 points came on free throws. The Tanagers continued to shoot well from the line in their 14 tries from there.
Lexi Regnerus was high scorer for VHS with seven points, but four of those were free throws. Blair Gilkyson had three field goals for six points. Kelly Amundson scored five, Beth Szymonki four, Claire Jones four, Val Robinson two, MacKenzie Huber two and Morgan Erickson one.
Taryn Twites 19 points and Alison Klostergaards 18 accounted for 37 of Beresfords 54 points. Alyson Johnson had eight. All three of those players return for Beresford next season.
Erickson was the only senior on Mayers VHS roster, so the Tanagers, too, will have almost the entire team returning. Erickson left her mark, however team leader in steals, second on the team in rebounding, third-highest scorer.
Beresford had a great night, Mayer said. The score doesn't show it, but our kids played hard. It wasnt our night tonight.
Mayer said he and his staff thought the team had been playing good basketball in the late stages of the season. They hope the experience of a championship game before their biggest crowd of the season and of a 9-13 year against one of the toughest schedules in the state will pay off next winter.