A season-opening winning streak of six games came to an end for the Vermillion girls last Friday, but Tuesday night saw what was hopefully the start of a new one.
The Tanagers lost at highly-rated Parkston, 54-50, but rebounded with a 54-39 triumph over Madison, their third Big 8 Conference triumph of the year and their second over Madison.
Next week will find the Tanagers home again on Tuesday against Elk Point-Jefferson in a girls-boys doubleheader. The girls, who played Lennox here last night (Thursday), go to Lennox next Friday.
When the Tanagers fell behind Parkston by eight points at the end of the third quarter and by 10 moments into the fourth, it seemed the contest might be over. But in four blinks of an eye, Vermillion raced from a 46-36 deficit into a 47-46 lead with a stunning 11-0 run. It started with Bailey Carlson's two-pointer, continued with a pair of treys from Val Robinson, and concluded with Carlson's three-pointer.
However, Parkston answered, quickly taking a 48-47 lead, then followed with a layup after a costly VHS turnover. Another three-point basket by Robinson at the 0:45 mark brought the Tanagers to within 52-50, but Parkston added a pair of free throws in the remaining seconds for the eventual four-point victory margin.
"To play an upper-echelon team close says a lot about our girls," Coach Nick Mayer said.
"It's a loss, but one loss doesn't define a season. We shot well and put in a good effort, and we got contributions from a lot of kids."
The Tanagers recovered from a shaky start to trail by only 14-12 after a quarter. They led briefly at 18-17 before Parkston's eight-point run gave the Trojans a seven-point advantage. From a 27-23 halftime lead Parkston again extended its edge through the third stanza on the strength of four three-point field goals.
Parkston's Marie Malloy had 20 points, 14 rebounds and five assists, and Logan Wagner scored 14. For the Tanagers Robinson had 21 points and eight rebounds. Lexi Regnerus contributed 12 points and Carlson 10.
The Tanagers committed 11 turnovers – seven of them in the first half – to only four by Parkston.
On Tuesday Vermillion and Madison scrapped and clawed with each other for 2 1/2 quarters until a sudden 13-0 explosion put the game in the Tanagers' hands for good. An Amundson feed to Blair Gilkyson started the run, then came successive treys by Josie Huber and Regnerus twice. The quarter ended with a Tanager in-bounds play with :00.7 on the clock. Amundson caught the ball, whirled and fired, scoring to give VHS a 43-29 lead.
In the final period a pair of steals and subsequent layups by Robinson, coupled with seven free throws in eight attempts, kept the Tanagers comfortably ahead.
Amundson had an earlier buzzer-beater, too. She fired a long three-pointer at the end of the first period, and it found the net for a 16-7 lead. Madison, however, outscored the Tanagers 17-8 in the second quarter to earn a 24-24 halftime tie. It was still only 30-29 for VHS midway through the third until the 13-0 run put it away.
It's hard to beat having four players in double figures. Regnerus scored 16 points, Robinson 11, Szymonski 10 and Amundson 10 along with Josie Huber's five and two from Gilkyson. Holly Fiegen with 14 and Chloe Nordling with 11 led the Bulldogs.