(Photo by David Lias)
Now that they have done it once, Vermillion's girls basketball team, just eight days after beating Lennox at home by a 46-39 count, have to try to do it again.
This time the Tanager girls will be on the road in Lennox tonight as they try to improve their Big 8 Conference record to 3-2.
Coach Nick Mayer's ballclub will be at home Tuesday for a girls-boys doubleheader against West Central, then travel to Dell Rapids for another twinbill next Thursday.
The home victory over Lennox last Thursday was a strong response for Mayer's girls after they had sustained a tough loss to previously winless Madison 48 hours earlier.
"We hit huge shots down the stretch," Mayer said of the Lennox win. "The girls responded after that tough loss against a very physical Lennox team. And now we know what to expect from Lennox in this week's rematch."
A 27-27 tie after three quarters was fitting, considering how those first three stanzas had progressed. A three-point Lennox lead at 17-14 was the biggest point differential between the two teams through all of that play.
The final period started the same way, back and forth. Brooke Schwasinger's three-point bomb with 4:50 left made it 34-33 for VHS, but Lennox immediately went back in front with a trey of its own. From that point on, however, the Tanagers took control of the court, outscoring the Ladybirds 12-0 down the stretch.
Another three-pointer by Schwasinger, a bank shot by Blair Gilkyson, then seven of 10 free throws by four different players accounted for the 12-point run. Lennox had a three-point play by Kayla Kruse in the final minute to reduce the final Tanager margin to 46-39.
The Tanagers had suffered through a five-minute scoring drought at the end of the first period but still were within 8-6 after that quarter. It was 17-16 for Lennox at halftime.
Josie Huber scored 17 points, 14 of them in the first three quarters. On the other hand Schwasinger had 10, eight of them in the final period. Gilkyson had seven points, Mackenzie Huber six, Courtney Johnson two, Allison Heine two and Sydney Peters two. Kruse had 22 for Lennox.
Vermillion had handled Madison on the home court in December, but last Tuesday at Madison, according to Mayer, "we didn't play the type of basketball that got us five wins up to that point. Our shooting was the difference, but we also had trouble getting to the free-throw line and forcing turnovers."
The Tanagers shot a cool 25 percent at Madison. Their biggest lead was seven after a 10-0 run that extended into the second quarter. Madison led 20-18 at halftime. VHS had a 12-6 edge in the third and led 30-26 heading into the final period, but the Bulldogs, continuing to hit three-point shots, many of them uncontested, led by four with 2:53 left.
A three-point bucket by Josie Huber with just over a minute left got the Tanagers to within a point, and Courtney Johnson's free throw with 19 seconds left tied the game at 37-37 to force overtime.
Two baskets by Schwasinger gave VHS a 41-39 lead, but Madison went on a 10-0 run the rest of the way to win by 49-41.
Madison finished the night with nine three-point field goals and only five two-pointers while sinking 12 of 17 free throws. Josie Huber led VHS with 21 points, Schwasinger had six, Gilkyson five, Johnson four, Mackenzie Huber three and Heine two.
Of the Tanagers' three losses in nine games through last week, two of them have been in overtime games.