Despite having not played for 10 days, Vermillion's boys basketball team concluded the regular season on a high note, winning its third straight game in subduing a rallying Canton team, 52-46, at Canton Friday night.
The victory gave Coach Jay Drake's Tanagers a 10-9 regular-season record as they prepared this week to begin District 8A play last night (Thursday) at 6 p.m. against a team to whom they lost in January, Elk Point-Jefferson, at the home court of top-seeded Dakota Valley. The district title game will be played Saturday.
"It was a nice effort by our guys after a 10-day layoff," Drake said. "Canton is a young team but a dangerous team."
The Tanagers, leading 14-10 after one quarter, went up by as many as 11 points in the second period and led by 26-19 at the intermission. The lead reached 11 again at 32-21 in the third.
"Give Canton credit," Drake said. "We had a tough time scoring in the third quarter." The C-Hawks were back within 33-29 heading into the final period.
Vermillion appeared to have the game well in hand, leading by 49-38 with under two minutes remaining. But while the Tanagers were missing five straight free throws, Canton was getting baskets, and suddenly it was a 49-46 game with 20 seconds left.
Fortunately for Vermillion's sake the free throws started to drop, and the Tanagers made three of four in the final seconds to save the game.
While Cody Willet led Canton with 14 points and 10 rebounds, the young C-Hawk standout was held to four points by the VHS defense through three quarters. Jay Lems had 11 points and Zach DeJong nine boards for Canton.
All nine Tanagers who saw action dented the scoring column, led by Tanner Anderson's 11 points and Austin Krier's 10. Jayce Huska contributed eight, Nile Morecraft six, Nick Jensen five, Caleb Miller four, J.T. Sorensen four, Anthony Leber three and Tanner Settles one.
On the boards, out of Vermillion's 34 rebounds, Morecraft and Jensen had seven apiece, Leber five and Miller four. Anderson and Krier had six and five assists, respectively.