Vermillion's girls came stampeding out of the halftime intermission to score 21 points in the next five minutes, 30 seconds, and 27 points in all in an astounding third quarter, en route to a 57-40 thumping of a veteran Beresford club that had also lost only twice this season.
The battle now becomes which of the teams will have home-court advantage come district tournament time later this month. Vermillion has the edge momentarily with a 12-2 record, and Beresford is at 12-3, but the remaining schedules would seem to give the advantage to the Watchdogs in that regard.
The Tanager girls' schedule is down to five games remaining before tournament time. The first two are on the road at Sergeant Bluff-Luton tonight (Friday) and at Dakota Valley Tuesday. The VHS girls will be home next Thursday and Friday against West Central and Harrisburg, respectively. The season ends with a date against No. 1 Wagner.
"We will possibly see Beresford again," Coach Nick Mayer said. "We would like to, so we have to keep this in perspective. They are a dangerous team, but this win will give us confidence."
As the Tanagers were making the net sizzle with nine-of-11 field-goal shooting during their third-quarter surge, they sank five three-point buckets, three by Lexi Regnerus and one each from Kelly Amundson and Val Robinson. Beth Szymonski had eight points in that quarter alone.
From a 49-36 deficit heading into the fourth period, Beresford, last season's state "A" tournament runners-up, got to within 11 of the Tanagers but no closer. The lead was built back up to as many as 18 points on a put-back by Robinson and five more points from Amundson. Then the Tanagers were able to coolly waste clock time.
Amundson with 16 points, Regnerus with 14 and Robinson with 13 gave VHS solid offensive balance. Syzmonski and Josie Huber added six points apiece. Alison Klostergaard had 15 and Taryn Twite 10 for Beresford.
"We looked for that one extra pass to give teammates better shots," Mayer said, "and we took care of the ball and got 11 steals, too."
Last Friday the girls rebounded from their second loss of the season the previous night – 54-46 at West Central – by thoroughly whipping Canton, 49-26.
It took a few minutes for both teams to find their shooting eyes, and the first quarter ended 8-6 for the Tanagers, but in the second period a trio of three-pointers from bench players – two by Bailey Carlson and one from Josie Huber – lit the fire for Vermillion. It was 24-12 by halftime.
Canton partially recovered and crawled to within eight midway through the third quarter, but the Tanagers immediately regained their momentum, scoring the period's final seven points to lead 38-23. The lead soared to as many as 23 by game's end.
Kelly Amundson was high scorer with 14, including the team's final seven fourth-quarter points. Beth Szymonski contributed 11, Val Robinson eight, Carlson seven, Josie Huber five, Mackenzie Huber three and Lexi Regnerus one. Heather Willet led Canton with 10.
At West Central the Tanagers led at halftime by 26-21. With the Trojans concentrating on Amundson inside, the Tanagers took their offense to the perimeter and shot a total of 25 three-point attempts. Unfortunately most of them misfired. On the other hand, West Central hit 11 treys and capitalized on crucial free throws down the stretch.
Robinson and Regnerus with 11 each and Szymonski with nine were Vermillion's high scorers. Brooklyn Ketcham with 21, Madison Kuehl with 17 and Allie Macdonald with 13 led West Central's offense.