As astounding a second half as girls basketball fans are likely to see for some time propelled Vermillion to a stunning 48-31 win over No. 5-rated and previously unbeaten Tri-Valley at the VHS gym Dec. 20.
The victory kept the Tanagers perfect at 4-0 heading into a home girls-boys doubleheader against Tea Area last night (Thursday). Next week Coach Nick Mayer's girls will be at Sioux City East Tuesday and at Parkston Friday.
This was one of those games that the same Tanager girls likely would not have won a year, two years, or three years ago, but now that the once-young athletes have become, in many cases, seniors and juniors, their leadership and experience have begun to pay off in close, tough games.
Trailing 13-10 in the early going, the Tanagers went on a 10-0 run finished off by a Josie Huber three-pointer and a Blair Gilkyson field goal. But that 20-13 lead vanished in the wake of a 13-0 Tri-Valley surge in the second quarter, fueled by four treys from the Mustangs' Chelsea Amundson. Four points by the Tanagers' Kelly Amundson kept her team close, however, and it was 29-24 for Tri-Valley at the intermission.
The Vermillion defense focused on Chelsea Amundson in the second half, and as a result she didn't score again. For that matter, neither did any of her teammates!
A 15-0 third quarter for the Tanagers featured four three-point daggers – two by Lexi Regnerus and one each from Kelly Amundson and Josie Huber. It was 39-29 for VHS after three periods.
After a Beth Szymonski basket increased the lead to 41-29 early in the final stanza, the Tanagers began to wait for good shots, killing clock time in the process as they carefully took care of the ball.
Still having not scored in the second half, Tri-Valley turned to a press with four minutes left. That succeeded only in sending the Tanagers to the free-throw line where they capitalized. Vermillion finished the night with a mark of 15-of-19 from the free-throw line while Tri-Valley reached the stripe only once in the entire game and missed that one.
The Mustangs did score in the second half but not until 36 seconds remained in the game and the Tanagers had gone on a 24-0 run since halftime.
Kelly Amundson led the VHS scoring column with 14 points. Eight from Regnerus and six from Szymonski all came in the second half. Gilkyson also scored eight with Val Robinson contributing four, Josie Huber three and Bailey Carlson two.