By Parker Knox
Nobody ever said every victory would be pretty, and Tuesday's Tanager win at Tri-Valley wasn't.
Nevertheless Vermillion remained undefeated at 3-0 with a 42-38 victory that saw J.T. Sorensen score 10 of his team's 17 fourth-quarter points in a come-from-behind win.
Seven Austin Krier points in the first quarter helped lift the Tanagers to an early 11-4 advantage. The lead was again at seven at 18-11 midway through the second quarter when suddenly the Vermillion offense went into a funk that extended dangerously through almost all of the third quarter. During that long stretch Tri-Valley outscored VHS 17-5. Fortunately the Mustangs were making enough turnovers to allow the Tanagers to stay within reach.
Carter Andre scored five of his seven points consecutively—a field goal to end the third quarter that brought the Tanagers to within 28-25 and the team's first three points of the final period. The rest of the way things were precarious, and neither team led by more than three points.
Five points from Sorensen and a Krier field goal had Vermillion up by 35-32 with 2:15 left. Then with the margin down to a single point again, Sorensen scored perhaps his most important basket when he grabbed an offensive rebound and put it back in with 1:27 to go. Anthony Leber added two free throws and Tanner Anderson one over the next 60 seconds.
Fouled as he went after a defensive rebound at the 0:22 mark, Sorensen sank the first of two free-throw chances to make it 40-36. Brendon Boomsma of the Mustangs scored with 12 seconds left. Sorensen, fouled on Vermillion's in-bounds pass, took advantage of his team's being in the bonus situation by making both of his free throws at the :07 mark to seal the deal.
Sorensen finished with 14 points as did Krier. Besides Andre's seven, Leber had four, Anderson two and Nick Jensen one. Brett Page scored 15 and Boomsma 12 for Tri-Valley.
Last week the Tanagers improved to 2-0 in Big 8 Conference play with a 60-49 win at Lennox, breaking away from a 42-42 tie midway through the fourth quarter with a strong finish down the stretch.
A big 21-7 first quarter for Vermillion was offset by a 12-8 second period and a 16-11 third stanza, both in the Orioles' favor, making it 40-35 at the end of three.
Krier had a big game with 19 points, going six of 11 from two-point field-goal range and seven of 10 from the line. Jensen had five field goals and was four-for-four at the stripe for 14 points, and Sorensen scored 11. Tanner Settles contributed six, Jayce Huska five, Anderson four and Leber one. Lennox was led by Tyler Harms' 14 points, Zach Koosman's 13 and Alex Lane's 10.
The Tanagers will try to remain unbeaten next Friday, Dec. 28, on the home court of the Tea Area Titans, who stunned top-ranked Dell Rapids last week.